Thieving tenant flooded flat – by stealing landlord’s dishwasher

Lofthill, Doxford Park, where former tenant Vincent Baldwin caused a flood after stealing fixtures.

Lofthill, Doxford Park, where former tenant Vincent Baldwin caused a flood after stealing fixtures.

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A tenant caused thousands of pounds of damage when he stole his landlord’s dishwasher, causing a flood which spread to the flat below.

Vincent Baldwin, 31, also took a number of door handles and a fridge freezer from the flat at Lofthill, Doxford Park, Sunderland magistrates heard.

He then left the property in November, leaving the front door unlocked and water cascading onto the floor.

Prosecutor Sue Baker said Baldwin had rented the flat for six months from landlord Andrew Mercer, who also owned the flat below.

Ms Baker said Mr Mercer, who lives out of the area, asked his mum to go and check on the property on November 21, after a phone call from the downstairs tenant.

She found the dishwasher unplugged and in the lounge.

When she returned the next day, the dishwasher had gone and the kitchen floor was covered in water.

Several door handles were missing and a fridge freezer, all worth a total of £698.99.

Ms Baker said the exact cost of repairing the damage was not known, but said it was in the region of £2,000.

Baldwin, now of Whinlaw, Beacon Lough, Gateshead, was arrested and told police he thought the items had been left behind by a previous tenant and he had taken them to give to his girlfriend.

He admitted theft and two counts of failure to surrender to bail.

He denied criminal damage, but was found guilty after a trial.

A probation report said Baldwin had a heroin problem at the time of the offences.

District Judge David Purcell sentenced Baldwin to a 12-month supervision order.

He will also be subject to a two-month curfew between 7pm and 7am, and pay £500 in compensation.