Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 13:46 UK

Bank wants 40,000 from G20 girl

G20 protesters at Royal Bank of Scotland
Protesters stormed their way into the Royal Bank of Scotland's City branch

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has demanded £40,000 compensation from a 17-year-old girl who admitted attacking a branch during G20 protests in London.

The girl, who cannot be named, admitted burglary and criminal damage when protesters targeted the Threadneedle Street branch of the RBS on 1 April.

Prosecution counsel told West London Youth Court the bank wanted to recover the losses incurred during the protest.

The girl, who lives in Brighton, was given an eight-month referral order.

As part of her sentence she may be asked to pay a smaller sum of compensation to RBS.

RBS have gone for compensation in the sum of £40,000 - in my view, this is wholly unjustified
Miranda Ching, defence counsel

Prosecutor Ann Crighton said three plate glass windows were broken and several pieces of computer hardware, which cost an estimated £40,000, were stolen.

Police saw the girl smashing a computer monitor with a keyboard and flinging the keyboard against a window, breaking it.

Mrs Crighton said: "She admits breaking through the police cordon and said she had done so to rescue some of her friends who had been contained in a police 'kettle'.

"At the time she got caught up in the heat of the moment. She thought it would be a good idea to go into the [bank's] foyer.

"When she got inside she thought it would be a better idea to smash up the computer.

"She said she changed her mind and tried to throw the computer through the window instead.

"She was seen picking up a keyboard and smashing a window," Mrs Crighton said.

'Other people'

Defence solicitor, Miranda Ching, said that the girl, who was born in Scotland, was unemployed and lived on handouts from friends and family.

"RBS have gone for compensation in the sum of £40,000. In my view, this is wholly unjustified.

"It may well be that a substantial amount of criminal damage was caused as a whole by other people on 1 April.

"We must look at what my client is charged with and that is IT equipment.

"That seems to be, at most, one computer keyboard and one computer monitor," she said.

The court heard that the teenager, who was introduced to political activism by her stepfather at an early age, had participated in a series of protests across Britain.

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