Repeat offender jailed for criminal damage and blaze at Sheffield Interchange

A young woman with a 'fascination for fire and blades' has been jailed for a string of offences committed at Sheffield Interchange, including arson and criminal damage.
A young woman with a 'fascination for fire and blades' has been jailed for a string of offences committed at Sheffield Interchange, including arson and criminal damage.

A young woman with a 'fascination for fire and blades' has been jailed for a string of offences committed at Sheffield Interchange, including arson and criminal damage.

During a sentencing hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday, the court heard how Chantelle Sykes broke into Sheffield Interchange when it was closed at around 12.45am on March 25 this year.

"Two customer service officers saw the defendant walk towards the bus station. They knew from her history that she was banned from the Interchange," said Bev Tait, prosecuting.

She added: "They saw she had smashed the glass to get in, and then smashed the fire alarm when she was inside."

Police arrived a short time later and Sykes, of Pollard Crescent, Parson Cross was arrested at the scene.

During interview, she told officers she had been drinking Stella and 'didn't know why she had done it'.

Ms Tait told the court that when Sykes, aged 24, committed the offence she was in breach of a suspended order she was made the subject of after she admitted to attempting to start a fire at Sheffield Interchange last year, when she was also found to be in possession of razor blades.

The court was told how Sykes told the probation service last year that she had a 'fascination with fire and blades'.

Sykes pleaded guilty to an offence of criminal damage at an earlier hearing.

James Gould, defending, told the court: "She is a young woman with complex problems that she has tried her best to deal with, self-harming on a regular basis.

"She doesn't use the weapons she is found with to commit an offence, but to self-harm."

Mr Gould said Sykes, who suffers from a borderline personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, would often drink to excess in order to suppress the urge to self-harm.

Recorder Woolfall sentenced Sykes to a total of nine months in prison.

He sentenced her to one month in prison for the criminal damage charge and activated her suspended sentence, ordering her to complete a further eight months for the offences of arson and possession of a bladed article in a public place.

"It's clear that you have got a long history of anti-social behaviour, and it's clear that a lot of it has taken place at Sheffield Interchange," said Recorder Woolfall, adding: "The court has bent over backwards to help you.

"I regret that the time has come for you to learn what happens if you breach the conditions of a suspended sentence order. On this occasion the court has to activate the suspended sentence."