Territorial neighbour sabotaged Sunderland home to stop ‘unsuitable’ tenants moving in

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A NEIGHBOUR systematically sabotaged the house next door to prevent a person he deemed unsuitable to live there moving in.

George Smith caused £4,000 of damage to the property at St John’s Vale, Pennywell, which belongs to Gentoo, Sunderland magistrates heard.

The 44-year-old, who lives next door, removed all the internal doors along with a number of kitchen units and boiler parts and disconnected the electricity and water supply.

Smith took the drastic action on January 2, after he and others in the neighbourhood found out that a person was moving in whom they thought unsuitable to live there.

He has now pleaded guilty to burglary and will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court at a later date, after magistrates committed his case for sentence.

Defence solicitor Gerry Armstrong said: “Mr Smith had an issue regarding the moving in of a new tenant at an address in St John’s Vale.

“Residents have to be notified of a new person moving in within their environment as it were.

“Mr Smith and others felt this was an unsuitable person to live there.

“He went to see Gentoo. Mr Smith indicated he would not allow the property to be leased to this person.

“Over a period of two to three days, he went into the property and unscrewed all the internal doors.

“He switched off the water and the electricity, and he effectively made the house unlivable because they would have to carry out repairs. He also caused damage to the boiler.

“As of Thursday, all of the property has been returned to Gentoo.”

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said Smith is subject to a crown court suspended sentence for “the same type of offence”.

“I invite you to commit for sentence,” he told the bench.

Smith was released on conditional bail and no date for his next appearance was given.