A ‘pointless gesture’ in protest at changes to a local pub cost a Cardigan man £295, following a court appearance.

Piers Andrew Garner, aged 51, of Minafon, 2 Bridge Street, appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Wednesday.

He had pleaded guilty to the theft of signs from the Red Lion, Cardigan, at a previous hearing, which put him in breach of a nine week suspended sentence imposed by Haverfordwest magistrates on February 7.

The court heard that three signs were taken from outside the pub in the early hours of the morning on February 16. A hand-written note referring to the signs and signed ‘Piers’ was then received by the pub’s manager.

Garner was captured taking the signs on CCTV and arrested. He told officers: “They’re gone, I put them in the river, I actually saw them float past.

“I had deep personal reasons for taking the signs, that used to be a nice welsh pub.”

Alison Mathias, defending, told the court her client, who suffers from mental health problems, said the offence was a ‘pointless gesture’.

“He did not like the way the landlord had changed the character of the pub.”

She added that activation of the suspended sentence could have a negative effect on Garner’s mental health.

Magistrates were presented with reports from the probation service and a psychiatrist.

The presiding magistrate said: “We do not feel that activating this suspended sentence is in the best interests of anyone today.”

Magistrates added that the suspended sentence would continue, but would be made more onerous by adding 16 session of a specified activity.

Garner was fined £40 for the theft, and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

He was also told to pay £150 towards the cost of replacing the signs.