Cynical vandalism of a deserted medieval village in Withybrook
In 2020, Warwick Crown Court levied costs of more than £160,000 – a total fine of £90,000, costs of £70,000 and victim surcharges of £360 – for the destruction of a historic medieval village in a ‘cynical act of cultural vandalism’ by the convicted when carrying out substantial work on their own land in Withybrook.
Bob Kindred who maintains the national Listed Buildings Prosecutions Database said: "Although the Secretary of State and Historic England are responsible for Scheduled Monuments, the IHBC database includes comparable prosecutions for works to monuments without consent. This latest fine is very substantially above other recent cases we have recorded; reflecting its serious nature, wilful disregard by the site owner and a welcome reminder that irreparable damage of this kind is totally unacceptable. Historic England is to be commended for bringing this case to trial – and note that if the perpetrators do not pay their costs within 6 months a custodial sentence may be imposed."
The Coventry Telegraph wrote:
… The court heard how local residents raised the alarm with Historic England over the damage… The site is home to a 12th century deserted medieval village and its remains survive as shrunken earthworks.
The ‘deliberate and sustained’ construction of the track damaged and destroyed the recorded medieval earthworks. Historic England said this led to the total loss of an important medieval trackway, or hollow way, and damage to the site of a medieval building.
… Councillor Jill Simpson-Vince, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for growth and investment, said: ‘This cynical act of cultural vandalism has caused irreparable damage to a protected historic site of national importance. The severity of the fines imposed by the Judge sends a clear message to landowners who choose to ignore advice from our planning team and flout the law.’
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