Tees

Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman's office attackers jailed

The damaged offices
Image caption Two windows were damaged at Helen Goodman's office in Bishop Auckland

Two men have been jailed for a "politically motivated" attack on the constituency office of a Remain-supporting Labour MP.

Two windows of Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman's office were smashed in April.

Colin Dodds, 44, admitted causing criminal damage, while Alan Dent, 50, of Co-operative Street, Shildon, denied the same charge.

After a trial at Teesside Magistrates' Court Dodds was jailed for 12 weeks and Dent for eight weeks.

District Judge Helen Cousins, said she believed the attack was deliberate and targeted.

"There can be no other reason than it being politically motivated for choosing that window. This was a targeted attack on a sitting MP's office," she said.

Image caption Helen Goodman said she believed the attack was related to Brexit

The court heard the pair threw bricks through the windows of the office on Cockton Hill Road on 6 April.

Dent claimed he did not deliberately target the MP's office and threw the brick after losing his temper.

At the time of the attack, Ms Goodman, who voted Remain and supports a customs union deal, said she believed Brexit was to blame because of the amount of online abuse she has received.

Dodds and Dent were also handed 12-month restraining orders stating they cannot go within 100 metres of the MP or her office.

Each was also ordered to pay compensation of £433.

After the hearing Ch Supt Chris Curtis, of Durham Police, said: "We understand that these are politically polarised times, with people keen to express their respective viewpoints and dissatisfaction.

"Nevertheless, despite however strongly people may feel, resorting to threats of violence and criminal damage in order to reinforce personal beliefs will not tolerated."

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