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DNA found on cigarette led to conviction of intruder

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: July 05, 2012

DNA evidence from a cigarette butt led to the identification and conviction of one of the people responsible for a weekend rampage of wanton destruction around Wells.

In the first incident intruders smashed a window of a building which was being renovated to become the new EMI Sports and Social club.

They emptied bags of plaster and cement around a room before daubing the walls with graffiti.

In another property a friend of the owner found the pair asleep on a bed.

They fled the scene but a cigarette butt was found with Woody Spencer's DNA on it.

Spencer, 22, of Somerset Street, Kingsdown, Bristol, pleaded guilty that between April 4 and 7 at Wells he jointly committed a burglary at an address in Priory Road and stole tools and a kettle of an unknown value.

He also admitted allegations of damaging a window belonging to Ashley Hann at a property in Wells and causing damage of £1,000 to a Toyota car belonging to Barry Higgins when he appeared before South Somerset Magistrates.

Spencer was identified from DNA on a cigarette butt and when interviewed by police said he was homeless and he and his partner had been looking for somewhere to stay so they broke into the property and fell asleep on the bed.

He also said that someone else had been with them but he didn't know who, and when the damage had been caused to the other property he had been very drunk on vodka and did not remember what happened.

He said he was "completely out of it" and it could have been any one of them who had taken the boards off the windows.

Paul Light, defending, said Spencer had been diagnosed with ADHD and suffered other medical conditions throughout his childhood which had affected his behaviour and way of responding to things.

He said the offences occurred because he was intoxicated and homeless but Spencer had not been involved specifically in all the damage.

"He has found it difficult to see he was responsible. However, when it is a joint enterprise with three people running around in a house then you have to take joint responsibility," he said.

He does regret what happened and drinking was a problem that he is now managing to get some attention for.

"He hopes that this was a blip that will wake him up to the realisation of what will happen if he drinks too much."

For all the offences the magistrates sentenced Spencer to a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 80 hours unpaid work.

No order was made for compensation but costs of £40 were imposed.

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