Football fan caught urinating on statue of Sunderland legend Bob Stokoe fined £250 – but claims punishment is 'too high'
A FOOTBALL fan who was caught urinating on a memorial statue of Sunderland legend Bob Stokoe has been fined £250 but complained it was “too high.”
Thomas Fleet, 21, was charged with criminal damage after video footage showed the Newcastle United supporter relieving himself on the statue of the former Sunderland player.
The tribute, outside Sunderland's Stadium of Light ground, recreates the late Stokoe's famous dance across Wembley's turf after he had masterminded the club's 1-0 FA Cup final victory over Leeds United.
But Fleet was left even more red-faced after social media users pointed out Stokoe was a hero and FA Cup winner on Tyneside.
The club legend who played more than 260 games for Newcastle, died after suffering from Alzheimers in 2006.
After the hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates Court today a shamefaced Fleet said: "I'd like to apologise to the Sunderland fans.
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"I wasn't thinking."
Lillian Yanes Hellevik, prosecuting, told the court that the offence took place on Saturday when Fleet was "caught on CCTV footage" with his friend as he walked up to the statue, pulled his pants down and urinated.
Fleet could also be seen wearing a Newcastle United shirt, Sunderland's rivals, at the time.
Ms Hellevik said: "The friend saw it fit to record the incident and that video went viral on the social media application TikTok."
She noted the video had "caused an outcry" amongst Sunderland fans.
She added that it had been "an impulsive act" and that the defendant admitted the offence in the police interview.
The court heard Fleet was serving a suspended sentence for domestic violence related offences at the time.
'ACT OF STUPIDITY'
Angus Westgarth, defending, said: "He was an idiot to do what he did and where he did it.
"It was disrespectful to many, many people.
"It was an act of stupidity. It wasn't premeditated."
He also added that the 21-year-old father-of-one was "embarrassed and upset" about what had happened and that "he's already paid quite a heavy price".
Mr Westgarth also argued the £250 compensation was too high and that the suspended sentence was for dissimilar offences.
Thomas, of Bertha Street, Ferryhill, was ordered to pay £250 compensation to Sunderland Football Club and a £40 fine.
Chair of the Bench Kay Gilbert said: "We are going to order you to pay Sunderland Football Club £250 in compensation.
"You committed this offence while you were on a suspended sentence order.
"We are not going to activate the suspended sentence because it's a dissimilar offence."
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She encouraged him to work with probation adding: "You acted impulsively.
"We don’t want to see you back here again."
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