1. ITV Report

Man sentenced over GM damage

Hector Christie after today's hearing Photo: ITV Anglia

A man has been ordered to pay £3,850 in compensation to a research centre carrying out a GM wheat experiment after admitting causing criminal damage.

Hector Christie, 51, was arrested following a break-in at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, in May, where a trial of GM wheat is taking place.

Today, Christie, from Devon, admitted a charge of criminal damage at St Albans Magistrates' Court.

The 50-year-old, of Tapeley Park Lodge, Instow, was fined £350 and ordered to pay compensation of £3,850 to Rothamsted Research. He was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15.

In a statement at the time of the incident, Rothamsted said the intruder had caused "significant" property damage but failed to disrupt the experiment.

Scientists at the centre are conducting a controlled GM wheat experiment, combining modern genetic engineering with their knowledge of natural plant defences, to test whether wheat which can repel aphids works in the field.

Today the company said it did not wish to comment on the outcome of the court hearing.