Nelson chef's one man wrecking spree saw 17 cars damaged in one drunken night

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A chef who vandalised 17 cars in Nelson on a boozy night out owned up, even though nobody saw him.

Robert Varey, who only remembered damaging one vehicle, “marched“ into the police station the next day and admitted it. His mum had asked him if he had done it and had sent him straight to the police, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told reports of damage to all 17 vehicles flooded in over the next few days, but police only had a description of a tall man in a white T- shirt. There were no witnesses to the crime spree and Varey’s solicitor advised the 20-year-old to plead not guilty to the other offences, but he insisted on holding his hand up to the lot.

The hearing was told Varey had left a trail of damage in the Glenfield Road area, totalling more than £1, 700, as he slashed tyres, ripped off windscreen wipers and broke wing mirrors. One of the vehicles he attacked by slitting the tyres was a Motability car, used by a disabled victim.

The night of destruction so concerned the community, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson contacted the police to try and speed up the case, but it still took nearly a year to get to court.

Varey’s lawyer Janet Sime said: “The MP clearly didn’t have much luck with that.”

Varey has now been ordered to pay a £2,298 “bill” for his actions between last February 25th and 26th.

Mrs Alex Mann (prosecuting) said just before midnight police got a call from an informant and attended the Glenfield Road area.

She added: "The next day, the defendant attended at the police station and handed himself in. He said he was responsible for some damage around the Glenfield Road area. In the following few days, police received 17 phone calls from members of the public, reporting their vehicles had been damaged.”

One of the victims, a lecturer, told police she had had to have a day off, which impacted on 200 students and another car owner lost £110, on top of the damage, as he also had to have a day off work.

Mrs Mann said the total cost of the damage, without the Motability vehicle, was £1,732.

The prosecutor told the Bench: "Tracking the defendant down might have been very difficult. I do think credit ought to be given to him for owning up to these offences.”

Miss Janet Sime (defending) told the magistrates: "There were no witnesses and no identification. He does not remember doing it, except one. He wouldn’t have known if there was a group of people doing it and neither do the Crown. He was adamant he was pleading guilty.

"This is a 20-year-old lad who has now lost his good character. It is a very unusual case. He is not prepared to prevaricate and waste the court’s time, despite the fact he would only be convicted of one."

Varey, of Malvern Road, Nelson, admitted 17 counts of criminal damage. He was fined £161, with £85 costs and must pay £2,052 compensation.