Church hall trashed

A FAILED asylum seeker who trashed a Doncaster church hall because he was late to collect his food vouchers has been rebuked by a judge for abusing this country's hospitality.

Bestoun Ahmed, who came to the UK from Iraq, caused more than 850 damage to the United Reformed Church Hall in Hallgate when he found he could not get in because he had been on a drinking session.

The 21-year-old was "guilty of disgraceful conduct which must have caused real distress to people using the church", said Judge Graham Robinson at Doncaster Crown Court.

The judge added: "This country had a long and honourable tradition of welcoming people seeking asylum and although your application was rejected you have been provided with free accommodation and food. Your response is to abuse the hospitality of the people of this nation."

Ahmed, who lives in Crookes, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage at the church hall

The court heard he had been due at the church, which was a distribution point for asylum seekers' food vouchers, and arrived in Doncaster early so went for a drink with friends.

But he consumed too much whisky and by the time he walked to the hall it had shut so he smashed panels in the front door and then internal doors before breaking a toilet window in his frustration.

He was traced because he left a bloodstain at the scene.

"It is plain that when you take alcohol that trouble is bound to erupt," said Judge Robinson, who was told Ahmed had previous convictions in the UK for damage, driving without insurance and being drunk and disorderly.

The latter offence was committed when he went to council offices to seek assistance but had become agitated because he had been drinking.

Michael Upson, defending, said Ahmed clearly had a drink problem which was something he needed to address.

He is not allowed to work as a failed asylum seeker and he has to rely on the food vouchers for his keep while living with his girlfriend's parents.

The defendant, who said he would like to repay the damage but has no means to pay compensation to the church, was sentenced to a 6pm to 6am curfew each night for the next two months.

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