A PATIENT caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to a hospital as he tried to escape via the ceiling.

David Wolstenholme lifted off ceiling tiles in order to clamber onto the roof at Eastbourne District General Hospital.

He had been detained because of concerns over his mental health by police.

“I’m going to smash this place, I’m going to escape,” he told officers as he arrived at the psychiatric unit.

The troubled 45-year-old appeared before Lewes Crown Court last month where he admitted criminal damage.

He apologised, and Her Honour Judge Christine Laing QC ruled that he was in a disturbed state of mind at the time.

She imposed a conditional discharge, warning him he could be re-sentenced if he commits any further crimes.

Peter Forbes, prosecuting, said the incident took place on December 16 last year.

He said police made a decision to transfer Wolstenholme to a psychiatric ward.

Mr Forbes said: “He covered the CCTV cameras with wet tissues, and was then pulling the electricity cable, sparking concerns about the electricity which had to be switched off in his suite.

“Police were called and found damaged plasterboards, the defendant had ripped through the ceiling and ripped out the insulation before making a hole to get to the roof.

“He evidently climbed through the roof and escaped, and was arrested a few days later in Worthing.”

It was revealed Wolstenholme, of Millfield, Sompting, has struggled with depressive episodes and has “self-medicated” with cannabis and alcohol.

Judge Laing said: “It was his disturbed state of mind that was primarily the driving factor in the commission of this offence rather than a simple desire to damage the building.”

The judge did not order him to pay compensation as she said the hospital will have claimed the money in insurance in order to repair the damage.

Wolstenholme apologised and said: “I’m hard-working, I accept I should be setting a better example, I am sorry for my actions.”