A YOUNG man who damaged a 500-year-old Grade I mediaeval castle north of York has appeared in court.

Much of the main building of Crayke Castle, a scheduled monument near Easingwold, was constructed  in the 15th century and is now a private residence.

It used to be the home of Kevin Hollinrake before he became MP for Thirsk and Malton, was valued at £3.5 million when it was last on the market in 2008, and stands in its own grounds above Crayke village.

York Magistrates' Court heard that Charley Carlyle, 20, and his friend Charles Leaf, 19, went to the property on June 10.

While they were there, Carlyle broke one of its windows.

Prosecuting, Marya Yasin said the castle’s current owner told police he had to spend £400 boarding up the window and £2,954.24 to repair the window.

Because the building was Grade I listed, it could only be repaired by a specialist company.

“The defendant damaged the window with the intention of entering," said Ms Yasin.

Carlyle’s solicitor Chris McGrogan said: “It was not an intentional act on his part. It was an act of recklessness.”

Carlyle had “tapped” on a small pane of glass measuring five inches by eight inches. The glass had been so thin and the window generally in such bad condition that it had broken, the court heard.

“There was a risk the window would break at a tap and he acted in a reckless manner,” Mr McGrogan said.

He said the court had not seen any invoices proving that the cost of the repairs had been nearly £3,000. 

Carlyle, of Holly Tree Garth, Stockton-on-the-Forest, pleaded guilty to criminal damage. After he had done so, the prosecution dropped a similar charge against Mr Leaf, of Redmayne Square, Strensall.

Neither was charged with any offence related to entering the building.

Carlyle was ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to the castle’s owner, fined £133 and ordered to pay a £53 statutory surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

The court took into account his ability to pay when deciding on his punishment.

Mr McGrogan said Carlyle earns about £200 a week working at his father’s joinery business.

York Press: The entrance to Crayke CastleThe entrance to Crayke Castle (Image: Google Street View)

The two young men had gone to the castle to look around it, he said.

“They had previously done a Google search which had shown that the castle was abandoned. That is why they were going to look around,” said Mr McGrogan.

As they had walked around the property, they could see items inside it through the windows and realised that it wasn’t abandoned.

“Unfortunately” Carlyle had then tapped one of the windows, said Mr McGrogan.