TWO friends hurled a microwave oven through a car windscreen after birthday drinks led to a drunken rampage through their hometown, a court heard.

Lifelong friends Richard Addison, 20, and James Anthony Johnson, 19, left 18 victims reeling in the wake of their “mindless spree of criminal damage” in Shildon during the early hours of yesterday morning (Tuesday, January 21).

Rachael Dodsworth, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court today (Wednesday, January 22), described how the pair had randomly smashed car windscreens, residential windows and windows at Shildon Spiritual Church and Jarrett Community Centre.

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Accompanied by a dog called Tara, the pair used a metal dog lead to inflict the damage, as well as a microwave and the plug of a deep fat fryer they had been given earlier that night.

Mrs Dodsworth said: “There were 18 separate victims of criminal damage overnight in a small area. These victims suffered damage to the windows of their cars, homes and other buildings.

“On one occasion damage occurred to someone’s front door, which is especially worrying.

“It seems to have been a mindless spree of criminal damage with no reason behind it whatsoever.”

Addison and Johnson, both of Station Street, Shildon, pleaded guilty to 18 joint charges of criminal damage.

The court heard how neither man could remember much about the incident.

Addison, who had been celebrating his birthday, had drunk 12 bottles of lager and a bottle of vodka, while Johnson had been smoking cannabis.

Referring to comments made in police interviews, Mrs Dodsworth said Addison had been in a bad mood that day because his family had not made a fuss over his birthday.

Johnson told officers he regretted his actions and wanted to apologise to his victims.

No mitigation was given at this hearing, as magistrates adjourned the case until Friday, February 14, for probation reports.

Pauline Parkin, chair of the magistrates, said she had concerns about granting bail but, after seeking legal advice, she agreed to do so under strict conditions.

These include a curfew between the hours of 6am and 6pm and an order banning the friends from socialising together in public.