A Sheffield man who went out ‘lamping’ for rabbits at night caused thousands of pounds of damage to crops when he was chased by farmers through fields in his car.
Carl Fantom, 30, of Wales Road, Kiveton Park, initially denied damaging £3,340 of oil seed rape at Walesby, on December 2, last year.
He changed his plea to guilty to criminal damage on a reckless basis on the day of his trial at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.
Peter Quinn, prosecuting, said: “He told police he had gone out lamping for rabbits. He drove around country lanes and got a flat tyre.”
He said that Fantom panicked when he was spotted by two employees of Strawson Ltd, the landowners, and a chase through the fields ensued.
“At the time he denied causing any damage to any crops,” said Mr Quinn. “Since then common sense has set in and he realised he should make a clean breast of things.
Chris Perry, mitigating, said: “Mr Fantom has had no legal advice up until today. He was never intending to cause damage to a farmer’s field.
“He went out late at night to catch some rabbits for his pot and it failed spectacularly.
“Being chased off the land, he drove through the dark and drove through a number of crops in their infancy.”
The court heard the land was owned by Stawson Ltd, and is part of a 102 acre site where oil seed rape worth £55,000 is grown.
Mr Perry said Fantom was a low-skilled worker who was on a low wage.
“In his wildest dreams he could not cover the damage that has been done,” said Mr Perry. “It was a reckless act.”
Magistrates ordered Fantom to pay compensation of £1,040 at the rate of £10 per week for the next two years.