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'What do you have to do to see someone punished?' Villagers who turned detective to catch a

Culled from Daily Mail

Villagers who turned detective to catch a tyre slasher were left furious when the case was thrown out because of blunders by police and prosecutors, Daily Mail reported.

After two years of attacks on vehicles in a rural North Yorkshire village, local police had been unable to catch the culprit.

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So residents in Carlton Miniott rigged up surveillance cameras. Within days, they managed to film the vandal and handed their footage to police.

All that needed to be done was to interview and charge the suspect, Bryn Richards, 54, and present the evidence, shot in February, to a court.

But, at Harrogate Magistrates' Court yesterday, the case was thrown out after an application by Mr Richards' lawyer Keith Allen.

The court heard an officer, PC Steve Smallman, signed off a case summary but the paperwork was not completed.

And the CPS did not submit the CCTV evidence on time, with Mr Allen only seeing it for the first time on the day of the trial.

Magistrate Marion Simon said: 'The bench has to make clear we are appalled at the way this case has been handled by the CPS and the police.'

After the hearing, John Sharphouse, the owner of the car seen damaged on the film footage, said: 'I can't really believe what I have just seen.

'They couldn't have had clearer evidence, what do you have to do to see someone punished?'

The footage allegedly showed Mr Richards, a grandfather, pause while walking his dog to lean down and puncture the tyre of a parked car.

Mr Richards, a mechanic, from nearby village Sandhutton, was charged with eight counts of criminal damage.

But the CPS withdrew seven and only proceeded with the one caught on CCTV.

He denied criminal damage, claiming it was a case of mistaken identity. After the case, Mr Richards left the court without making a comment.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: 'We're sorry we let the villagers down in this case. We acknowledge the magistrate's comments and we recognise that we should have done better.'

My view: I don't blame the villagers for being furious, after working so hard to catch the coward and got absolutely nothing for it. Police admitted their blunder and apologised, as for the tyre slasher, it won't be long before he's caught again.

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