Environmentalist wielded a pick axe as he threatened a restaurant manager and smashed extractor fans

AN angry environmentalist used a pick axe to smash a couple of Indian restaurant extractor fans after discovering that staff had cut down some foliage next to them.

David Santos then wielded the three-foot axe and threatened to kill the manager of the Mogul Indian restaurant in Wisbech.

“He told police he is an environmentalist and sees red when he believes plants have been damaged or animals hurt,” prosecutor Emma Duckett told Fenland magistrates.

“He felt he was morally in the right, but accepts he was legally wrong.”

Santos, 49, of North Street, Wisbech, lodges in a property next door to the restaurant, the court was told.

The restaurant had an agreement that staff could access the rear garden where Santos lives, to cut trees or bushes to keep the extractors fans clear, said Ms Duckett.

On August 15 the restaurant manager heard two or three loud smashing noises coming from the wall, and saw Santos holding the pick axe.

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“He shouted, asking who had cut the tree,” said Ms Duckett. “He was seen to lift the pick axe and take two or three swipes at the extractor fans.”

When told to stop, Santos took a swing at a window, and told the manager: “I will kill you.”

Police were called, and discovered two fans had been damaged, costing a total of �580.

Santos admitted charges of threatening behaviour and criminal damage, and was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid community work. He was not required to pay compensation or costs, because he has no income.

“My client was living there, he looked after the garden and saw some trees had been pruned back by someone from the restaurant, they are not tree surgeons,” said solicitor Roger Glazebrook.

“He got annoyed and thought it was unnecessary; he went out in some form of retribution, but accepts he was wrong.”

Presiding magistrate Peter Waterfield told Santos: “This was a serious threat and I am sure the manager was put in fear.”