Exmouth vandalism spree: judge orders drug rehab assessment

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 June 2016

Archant

A vandal from Withycombe Raleigh, who used a hammer to smash up 11 cars during a wrecking spree in Exmouth, is to be assessed for drug rehabilitation.

Robert Dance threatened two people with the hammer in the centre of the town, before launching a series of attacks, which caused thousands of pounds of damage.

He vented his fury on five police vehicles in the parking bays next to Exmouth Police Station before he was eventually arrested.

Dance, 31, of Broadpark Road, Exmouth, admitted affray and seven counts of criminal damage and was due to be sentenced at Exeter Crown Court.

Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC adjourned the case for a report from the addiction service Rise into Dance’s suitability for a rehabilitation order.

The judge told him: “This should not be seen as any indication of the sentence you will receive for these serious offences.

“However, you have spent some months in custody on remand and I have read an encouraging report from the probation service and this course may seem more suitable.”

The judge bailed Dance with a condition that he stays away from an exclusion zone in the centre of Exmouth.

Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, told an earlier hearing the offences all took place in a short space of time in the area surrounding Exmouth Police Station on the night of May 12, last year.

The court was told Dance approached one man while holding a hammer and asked him if he wanted to take part in a robbery. When he said ‘no’, Dance went up the road, clattering the hammer against railings, and approached a second victim.

Mr Wraith said: “He said ‘give me all your money’. He said he had no money, but offered some cigarettes. Dance asked for money again and the other man kicked him and ran away. Dance went on to commit the offences of criminal damage.”

Dance used the hammer to cause damage totalling at least £2,500 to five police cars, plus a Mazda, a Daewoo Matiz, a VW Polo, a Fiat Punto, a Vauxhall Corsa, and a Citroen Saxo, which were parked nearby.

Miss Emily Cook, defending, said Dance spent five months in custody after his arrest and had been on a tagged curfew. She said the probation service had suggested a drug rehabilitation assessment.

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