Home worth £1.2m left looking 'like a war zone' after chainsaw attack by thugs as young as just 11

Shanklin, the Isle of Wight

The property (not pictured) in Shanklin, the Isle of Wight was rampaged by the teens

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 02/11/2023

- 14:20

The Grade II listed building was destroyed by seven youths

A group of teenagers ransacked a Grade II listed building with a chainsaw, causing more than £200,000 worth of damage.

The property in Shanklin, the Isle of Wight, was destroyed by seven youths, one of them as young as 11.

The owners, Joanna and Matt Pittard, told the court that they were left “distraught” after their home was left looking like a “war zone”.

The £1.2million property was targeted in a month-long rampage of destruction by the seven teens.

Broken glass on floor (stock)

The home was left looking like a 'war zone' (not pictured)

Wikimedia Commons

Between May and June 2022, the “evil” children damaged a chandelier, flipped over antique furniture and even destroyed Joanna’s wedding dress.

No corner of the property was left untouched, as the unruly youths squirted ketchup, bleach and paint everywhere.

The destruction of the house caused its market value to depreciate by an estimated £250,000 to £300,000.

The seven perpetrators admitted to criminal damage of the property at Isle of Wight Magistrate’s Court.


The teenagers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were all fined £1,500 each.

The Magistrate overseeing the sentencing said that he had never seen a criminal damage incident of such scale in 20 years on the Island.

Prosecutor Ann Smout said: “Joanna and Matt Pittard were in that address over Easter in April 2022.

“They had a week there and left the property clean and tidy and in very, very good order.”

Joanna and Matt, along with their two daughters, left the property for a month after moving in.

However, a gardener told them that there “may be some damage” to the property.

Upon their return, they first heard “banging noises”, and then were dismayed to see a group of youths leaving the house.

Broken window (stock)

23 windows across the property were smashed (stock)


The court heard that over 20 windows in the property were smashed, included an ornate stained-glass window.

Smout told the court that “every item of furniture” had been damaged in some way.

The walls were stained with a range of liquids and graffiti was tagged all over the property.

Joanna Pittard said: “They maliciously chopped down our palm tree and tried to chop down our cherry tree – it looks like a war zone,” she said.

“From being a beautiful, historic building, it is a derelict shell of itself.”

Magistrates’ chairman Keith Jones said he was “lost for words” by the actions of the youths: “Your behaviour has been appalling and an absolute disgrace to all of you.

“This is imposed on your parents, but you owe that figure to your parents.”

You may like