A VIGILANTE neighbour who wrecked a house because he feared a drug dealing paedophile was about to move in has been put behind bars.
George Smith, pictured, told police he and other residents were up in arms over rumours an undesirable was about to move into the house next door to his at St. John’s Vale in Pennywell, Sunderland.
As tensions rose about the unwanted resident, Smith decided to make the house inhabitable by stealing internal fixtures including doors and boiler parts.
Newcastle Crown Court heard, unbeknown to the 44-year-old, owners Gentoo had heard the house may become a target so had fitted a covert recording device, which captured him in the act on January 6.
Smith was arrested and returned all of the property taken during the raid, where he had caused £4,000 loss and damage.
The resident rumoured to be moving into the property did not end up being housed there.
Prosecutor Claire Anderson told the court: “He told police he had forced the rear door with the intention of causing damage and stealing various items from the property.
“He stated he thought a paedophile was moving in next door and by him causing the damage they would not be able to move in.
“There is no evidence whether the tenant was a paedophile or not.”
Smith admitted a charge of burglary.
Jamie Adams, defending, told the court: “There is something of a vigilante about him I suppose, in that he behaved in the way he did.
“The person was known as a drug dealer.
“Having lived in the area for some time and being very happy with the neighbours, there was quite a bit of discontent amongst the residents. Feelings were running high amongst other people.”
Mr Adams described Smith as a “loveable rogue” who realises what he did to the house was wrong. Mr Recorder Perrins sentenced Smith, who was on a suspended sentence at the time, to two years behind bars. The judge told him: “Considerable damage was caused.”
Smith shouted from the dock he thought the sentence was a “disgrace” as he was being led away to start the prison term.