A MAN scratched "landlady from hell" into the wall of a house he had just moved out of.
Michael Anthony Butler, 27, of 49 Kala Fair, Westward Ho! pleaded guilty to criminal damage when he appeared at North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday.
Lyndsey Baker, for the prosecution, told magistrates how Butler, his partner and children had moved into a flat in Morwenna Park Road belonging to Patricia Adorian in June 2012.
"There was a dispute about conditions," she said. "The tenants left and after an inspection of the flat, graffiti was found scratched into a wall."
When interviewed by the police Butler said moving into the property had been "the biggest mistake of my life".
"I know I left it in a bad way," said Butler, "but good."
Debbie Bakehouse, for the defence, said Butler had endured problems throughout the tenancy and had invested heavily trying to do up the property.
"From the moment they moved in there were problems with damp," said Miss Bakehouse.
"Mould ruined the childrens' toys and bedding so when the landlady asked them to leave they willingly went."
She also said Butler was taking up civil proceedings against Mrs Adorian.
Presiding magistrate Terry Robins told Butler: "You've admitted damaging the wall and we've taken note of the fact you spent a lot on the property, so we aren't going to fine you or order you to pay compensation."
He gave Butler a conditional discharge for six months and ordered him to pay costs of £35 and a victim surcharge of £15.