Tagged: St Hilda’s Church

Loan fury led customer to smash bank windows

An angry customer smashed windows at a South Tyneside bank after learning he still had thousands of pounds left to pay on a loan.

Jobless Graham Ramsey vandalised the TSB offices – formerly Lloyds TSB – in Barrington Street, South Shields, in the early hours of Friday, July 4.

He took a piece of wood from nearby St Hilda’s Church and started smashing windows with it, and was heard by one eyewitness to say: “I put the windows out – nobody cares.

Later he attended South Shields Police Station and told staff of the offence, which caused an estimated £1,000 damage.

Appearancing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Ramsey, 46, of Moreland Road, South Shields, admitted a charge of criminal damage.

He was sentenced to a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £100.

The court heard Ramsey was furious that he still owed almost the full amount on a £7,000 loan he had taken out from the bank five years earlier.

Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said: “This incident happened at 3.30 in the morning, and a witness who was using the cashpoint saw Mr Ramsey, as it turned out, go to St Hilda’s Church, pick up a large piece of wood, go back, and deliberately smash the windows at the bank.

“He then sat down at the JobCentre in Keppel Street, and a short time later presented himself at the police station, where he admitted he had just broken windows at Lloyds Bank.”

David Forrester, defending, said: “He was offered and then strongly advised to take a caution at the police station. However, he absolutely refused and said he wanted his day in court.

“The reason he took that decision is that he has had a difficult relationship with Lloyds Bank that goes back five years, when he took out a secured loan on his house for £7,000.

“He subsequently lost his job, but over the past few years he managed to pay off £3,500.

“He received a notice from the bank saying it had now sent the debt to a collection agency, and when he looked at the figures, which no doubt included the collection agency’s fees, he learned that he had only paid £150 off the loan.

“His view was that this was utterly unfair, and, clearly in a state of some upset, he decided to take it out on the windows.”

The court heard that due to the imposition of extra costs, the loan has now increased to £9,500, and the former security guard, who is struggling to prevent his home being repossessed, has found himself in a “cycle of poverty”.

Source – Shields Gazette, 04 Aug 2014

Vicar offers prayers for bankers

Jesus may have had some harsh words for money lenders, but a Tyneside vicar has been offering up prayers for modern day bankers.

Banks may not have enamoured themselves to people in recent years, but Father Chris Fuller is prepared to risk public disapproval – by offering prayers for them.

The plea for help from above is part of a radical approach by the vicar at St Hilda’s Church and town centre chaplain, who has launched “prayer services for businesses” throughout the town.

Prayers have already been offered for NECA – the North East Council on Addictions, based at Cookson House, the Citizens Advice Bureau, in the Edinburgh buildings, and Market Place stallholders.

Yesterday he invited representatives from the 12 banks based in and around the town centre to a service at St Hilda’s – although in the event no one from the banks attended.

Father Chris said: “We still offered prayers to the banks and named bank managers.

“Banks may not be the most popular businesses in the community, but they do offer a service and I think they have had a bad press because of the city bankers.

“I think that locally one hopes they are focused on the community and I’ve had a good response from those I’ve visited, even though some have expressed surprise that I want to pray for them.

“No one is outside of being prayed for – even banks!”

> In that case, maybe the vicar should start at the bottom – the Jobcentre, and the poor sods getting sanctioned.

As for local bank branches being focused on the community – they’re not local, they’re part of multi-national businesses. If someone at head office says “Screw the community”, then that’s what they’ll do.

Future prayers for retailers and firms will be offered at Wednesday morning services for town centre businesses – including The Gazette.

Father Chris said: “Part of my role as town centre chaplain is to support what the businesses are doing.

“They are part of the community here and, like everyone, are in need of prayer. By supporting them in prayer, the church is showing it has a role, not just for Sunday, but for all of the week for anyone in need or trouble.

“I visit businesses, give them a leaflet about the town centre chaplaincy, explain who I am and ask for the name of manager to invite to our Wednesday morning service.

“We pray for the organisation, a named manager and whoever the business supports.

“A chaplain is there to take an interest in the people in their community and offer a listening ear and advice.”

Father Chris, who has been a chaplain to both the police and the army, added: “I’m happy to support local businesses through prayer.

“Prayer is our business after all.”

> “Business” obviously being the operative word.

Source – Shields Gazette  13 Feb 2014