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Hythe: Tom Moon failed to carry out unpaid work at Howletts Wild Animal Park

By Paul Hooper

A Hythe man has been “punished” for his crimes by being given a job that “executives would pay hundreds of pounds do”.

Tom Moon was ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work for the community at Howletts Wild Animal Park.

But the 21-year-old admitted he twice failed to show up for his seven-hour shifts without reason and was eventually brought back to court.

Howletts wild animal park

Howletts Wild Animal Park

Judge Heather Norton said a probation report claimed he had also failed to turn up on for work at the zoo on December,1, 2, 8, 15, 29; January 5, 12 and 26 and February 2 and 16.

She told Moon, of Heron’s Way: “There are executives who pay hundreds of pounds for the opportunity to work at Howletts, let alone being given it as a punishment.

“You have got a fantastic placement for which many people would give their right arms and frankly more to be able to do that job.

“If the public knew what was going on with unpaid work, they would be horrified.”

Moon’s lawyer, Mark Hunsley, said he had landed a job with Network Rail and decided to go to his paid employment rather than do the punishment.

An Amur tiger at Howletts Wild Animal Park

An Amur tiger at Howletts Wild Animal Park

He added: “He accepts he made the wrong choices and made poor decisions but he wants to continue working with the order.

“He had worked hard to get the job and was scared to lose it.

“When the times of his placement and work shifts clashed he made the choice to go to work. He accepts he didn’t tell probation.”

Mr Hunsley claimed the defendant didn’t realise he had missed all the appointments reported by the probation service and had also been in Ireland for two weeks with relatives.

The judge retorted: “Court orders are court orders. They are not court requirements, requests or guidance they are orders.

Judge Heather Norton

Judge Heather Norton

“And if they are not carried out there are consequences.

“You have a woeful history of attendance on this unpaid work requirement.”

"You have got a fantastic placement for which many people would give their right arms and frankly more to be able to do that job" -  Judge Heather Norton

She said he had turned up on only six of 26 occasions, completing 36 hours out of 169 which have been offered to Moon.

“And the request by the probation officer to add 10 more hours is also woeful so you will now do an extra 35 hours on top of what remains and you can also pay £50 court costs of this hearing.”

The judge warned him if he breached the order again he could expect a suspended sentence – and “if you breach that then the likelihood is that you will go to prison.”

Moon had been convicted of attacking a former lover after getting into her home.

He was grabbed by his privates as he tried to flee through a window.

Moon later stole money from his sister and assaulted her when she confronted him about the theft in April.

He admitted two charges of assaults by beating, theft and escaping lawful custody and was given a 12 month community order.

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