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Pictured: Co Antrim teenager who threw fireworks at PSNI officer's house avoids jail

Finlay Hedges pleaded guilty to the attack which occurred in Juniper Hill caravan park in Portstewart

Finlay Hedges

Paul HigginsSunday Life

This is the teenage idiot who threw fireworks at the home of a police officer.

Finlay Hedges pleaded guilty to the attack which occurred in Juniper Hill caravan park in Portstewart.

The court, sitting in Ballymena, heard that in November last year the 18-year-old was in the passenger seat of the car involved.

It drove into a cul-de-sac where a number of police officers live and threw a firework at the home an officer. The device exploded close to the front window.

The prosecuting lawyer told the court that 10 minutes later, the car was back and threw another firework at the same property but it bounced off the driveway and exploded “in close proximity” to the homes of other serving officers.

Unfortunately for Hedges, one of those off duty officers jumped into his car and followed him around Portrush, circulating the registration to his colleagues who arrested Hedges and his co-accused who had been driving.

Hedges, from Causeway Street in the harbour town but now living in London, entered guilty pleas to three counts of throwing fireworks and harassment of the police officer.

“This behaviour can only be categorised as immature and cleverly, a lack of consequential thinking,” said a defence lawyer.

“He is very, very sorry for his behaviour,” said the barrister, suggesting that “something left hanging over his head” would meet the justice of the case.

Sentencing Hedges, District Judge Peter King said the deliberate targeting of the officer “just because they were doing their job” was a significant aggravating factor but like the probation officer who interviewed him, “it’s puzzling why you were a willing participant”.

“It’s an activity that could have had catastrophic consequences,” the judge told Hedges. “Throwing fireworks is juvenile and stupid, but designed to cause alarm.”

Although he imposed fines amounting to £450 for the firework offences, the judge said the harassment offence “clearly crossed the custody threshold” so he handed Hedges a four month jail sentence, suspending it for two years.

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