Men in court over vicious rampage'
PUBLISHED: 06:16 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 21:31 29 May 2010
TWO men, one from Ford End, were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday after killing two guinea pigs which they used as makeshift footballs. Christopher Handley, a 19-year-old unemployed man from Pleshey Road, Ford End, and 18-year-old Stuart Mans
TWO men, one from Ford End, were sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday after killing two guinea pigs which they used as makeshift footballs.
Christopher Handley, a 19-year-old unemployed man from Pleshey Road, Ford End, and 18-year-old Stuart Mansell from Waveney Drive, in Chelmsford, carried out a spree of destruction on the evening of Wednesday February 8, 2006.
Beginning in Bicknacre and finishing at two schools in Rettendon, they caused more than £10,000 in damage.
The Small Wonders Nursery School in Rettendon Common was broken into and the day nursery's two pet guinea pigs were taken and assaulted before being dumped in the Rettendon Primary School's swimming pool which is situated next door.
A third guinea pig was also taken but has never been found.
Handley and Mansell appeared in Chelmsford Crown Court where they pleaded guilty to the charges of theft and the resulting deaths of the animals as well as criminal damage.
Both men received a suspended 22-month prison sentence, ordered to carry out 40 hours of community service and were given a 12-month supervision order.
Investigating officer PC Clair Adams said: "These two men went on a vicious rampage causing more than £10,000 of damage to school before using these two defenceless animals as footballs.
"We have had tremendous support from the schools and today shows how a successful relationship between police and the local community can produce great results and bring criminals to justice."
Sarah Verney, Small Wonders Nursery School owner, said: "The officers have been fantastic in their support of the staff and children throughout this traumatic ordeal. We are all disgusted by the mindless, vile actions of these two men.