A teenager smashed up essential safety equipment for disabled people during a drunken rampage by youths who trashed a hotel room in Sunderland.
Syed Osama Ahmed destroyed a disabled evacuation chair at Travelodge – designed to be in case of a fire or other emergency to help those who cannot use the stairs.
The 18-year-old was seen to rip the £541 chair from the wall and hurl it down the stairs, during the incident in the early hours of June 10, Sunderland magistrates heard.
Ahmed, of Peel Street, Hendon, admitted criminal damage. A co-defendant will be dealt with separately.
The pair were among a group who had spent the night in a first floor room of the Travelodge, prosecutor Angela Narey said.
Police were alerted on the morning of June 10 after hotel staff discovered the damage. “They located a number of males and females in Mowbray Park, who had been staying in the room at the time,” Miss Narey said.
“All were drunk and had been drinking overnight and throughout the morning.
“The disabled evacuation chair had been ripped from the wall and thrown down the stairwell and the wall was damaged.
“The room was left in an untidy state and a curtain rail had been ripped down.”
Ahmed initially denied having anything to do with the damage, the court heard, even when he was shown CCTV footage from the hotel.
“It was put to him that he could clearly be seen throwing the chair down the stairwell and that the manager had seen him,” Miss Narey said. “He was shown the CCTV again and then agreed he could be seen throwing the chair.”
Ahmed told police what he had done was “daft”.
“He was asked about the damage to the room and said he did not know who was responsible for that,” Miss Narey said, adding that she applied for compensation.
She said: “It is required by law that the hotel has this.”
A statement from hotel management, which was read out in court, said: “Those who caused this damage need to learn to have respect for the Travelodge and other guests. The damage caused to the room and the chair is going to cause us a lot of inconvenience and problems, with any disabled or elderly guests not being able to stay on the first floor of the hotel.
Jason Smith, defending, said he was concerned that there was an application for compensation, while it was not clear whether or not Travelodge had claimed back the costs of the damage through insurance.
“This is Mr Ahmed’s first conviction as an adult, “ Mr Smith said. “He works in the family restaurant.
“I have no doubt this is an essential item. I have no doubt it has been replaced. The question is who has paid for this.” Magistrates sentenced Ahmed to a 12-month community order with 30 days of specified activity.
He was told to pay £270 in compensation to Travelodge, £85 costs and a £150 criminal courts charge.
Speaking after the case, Age UK Sunderland director Alan Patchett, condemned the damage caused to the evacuation chair.
He said: “It’s very sad that alcohol makes people do these stupid things that have a really negative impact on the ability of older and disabled people to use the Travelodge.”
Travelodge was approached for a comment.