A teenager who was warned by a judge that he was at risk of going to custody for his part in “mindless vandalism” that desecrated a church has been sentenced to a 12-month community order.

Muhammed Mughal, 18, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to criminal damage at All Saints Church, Highfield Lane, Keighley, on December 3 last year.

Mughal, of Cliffe Street, Keighley, was one of a group of youths who did £200 damage to the church, prosecutor Philip Adams told Bradford Crown Court.

They got into the building through an insecure fire door and committed “mindless vandalism.”

The damage included daubing graffiti on the walls, damaging doors, breaking windows and letting off fire extinguishers. A machete the intruders found in the church kitchen was used in course of the offence and found to have Mughal’s DNA on it, Mr Adams said.

The teenager’s barrister, Peter Byrne, stated at the previous hearing that he was 17 at the time with no previous convictions.

Mughal had been on a college course last year, but health problems had forced him to leave his studies.

Mr Adams said that the vicar, the Rev Jonathan Pritchard, wanted some form of restorative justice from those responsible. He was keen to sit down with the perpetrators to discuss their crime.

Judge Jonathan Rose stated at the first Crown Court hearing that Mughal and his associates had done “inexplicable and appalling damage.”

He warned: “You are at risk of going to custody. This court takes an extremely dim view of those who desecrate a place of worship.”

Sentencing Mughal today, Recorder Dafydd Enoch QC told him that some people mistakenly believed that churches were “fair game” for this type of behaviour.

“They are jolly well not. They are places of importance and sanctity,” he said.

Damaging them in the way Mughal did was “downright cruel.”

Recorder Enoch added: “You need to sort yourself out.”

It was a “particularly nasty offence of this kind,” he told Mughal.

The community order included a requirement to do 100 hours of unpaid work and to undertake a 30 day rehabilitation activity requirement with the probation service.