A MAN who badly damaged nine top-end cars at a Wallisdown dealership was in the grip of a mental health crisis when he committed the crime, a court heard last week.

Bradley Bartlett, of Mickleham Close in Poole, suffers from a range of serious psychiatric illnesses.

Late at night on September 5 2018, the 22-year-old went to Norman Motors armed with a crowbar and carried out a spree of criminal damage, smashing up vehicles including a BMW and a Mercedes.

He also shattered a large window “beyond repair” and wrote ‘f*** off’ in his own blood on the showroom wall.

Bartlett had no personal grievance against the business.

He was spared a prison sentence by a judge at Bournemouth Crown Court after admitting one count of criminal damage.

Tom Wright, prosecuting, said police were alerted when a “concerned local resident” heard Bartlett “shouting” and the “sounds of his progress around the yard with the crowbar”.

The total damage to the cars is valued at some £8,400, while the window needed to be entirely replaced at a cost of £4,000.

Bartlett has never been in trouble with police before and struggles with mental ill-health, it was heard. Also the defendant remained silent after his arrest, he pleaded guilty when he was charged with the offence.

Recorder Malcolm Gibney said he had read a detailed psychiatric report into Bartlett’s condition.

“You engaged in significant criminal damage at commercial premises,” the judge said to the defendant.

“You caused damage to nine vehicles and a showroom window. This was carried out with a crowbar.

“I have had the opportunity of reading a comprehensive psychiatric report. You have a number of mental health difficulties dating back quite a considerable time.”

The damage was not carried out as a result of any grudge held against the company or its owners by the defendant, the judge said.

“For this type of unprompted and gratuitous criminal damage, I would usually consider a jail sentence. I’m not going that far,” he added.

Instead, Bartlett was sentenced to a 12-month community order, as part of which he must complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and comply with a three-month electronically-monitored curfew between the hours of 10pm and 7am.

Recorder Gibney told the defendant: “There has been another recent episode to suggest you are struggling and need help.

“Please be sure to take all the help you are offered.”