Farmer fined for damaging WW2 radar mat: Culmore, Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by dbf, Feb 1, 2024.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Farmer James Thompson fined £20k for damaging WW2 monument
    An elderly farmer has been fined £20,000 for damaging a World War Two monument in Northern Ireland.

    James Thompson, 77, of Coney Road in Londonderry, admitted damaging the anti-aircraft battery on his land between 2019 and 2022.

    The monument in the Culmore area was described as "priceless" by the judge at Londonderry Crown Court.

    But Judge Neil Rafferty said he would fine the farmer rather than send him to prison.

    Defence counsel Stephen Chapman told the court that his client had removed what was described as "a radar mat" of some four acres of overgrown concrete but he was unaware he had damaged the monument.

    Judge Rafferty said the monument was an anti-aircraft battery near a radar installation and was "unique" as it was the only radar mat still in existence.

    The judge said that the monument was listed in 2005 and Thompson had been farming the land since 1993 and would have been aware of the listing.

    Judge Rafferty said that it was unlikely that tourists would have been "flying in" to view this monument but it was "priceless" to archaeologists and historical societies who were looking at how things were put together in the 1940s.

    'Mortified to be in dock'
    He asked: 'Was this vandalism? No it wasn't."

    However, there was a need for deterrence, the judge added.

    The court was told that Thompson would have gained the use of four acres of land valued at £8,000 an acre, by the removal of the concrete.

    The judge said that Thompson was "mortified" to be sitting in the dock of a criminal Crown Court but he was only a "custodian of the land" for future generations and losing this monument "makes us all the poorer".

    Fining Thompson £20,000, Judge Rafferty said the courts had to make clear that "those who do this sort of thing will not benefit".

    ARPCDHG, vitellino, 4jonboy and 2 others like this.

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