Look who’s due in Chesterfield court today...

Mark Chapman. Still from his Facebook video which has been viewed 43,000 times.
Mark Chapman. Still from his Facebook video which has been viewed 43,000 times.

A former teacher is due to stand trial today – because of chalk.

Mark Chapman, 56, of Bellhouse Lane, Staveley, is charged with three counts of criminal damage to the bandstand at Queen’s Park in Chesterfield.

He allegedly used chalk to cause damage costing a total of £450 on three separate days in April, Chesterfield magistrates’ court was told in July.

At that hearing, Mr Chapman denied the charges and spoke for about half an hour in a hearing which should only have lasted a few minutes.

He said: “I’m not happy about these allegations. It’s a catastrophe.

“This is all to do with chalk on a bandstand. It doesn’t constitute criminal damage. It’s not graffiti, it’s not like it’s engraved. It’s chalk – chalk! Chalk washes away.

“It was raising awareness of my mental health group. It was artistic. It was part of a practice of my faith.

“What I did was for the good of this town – and it was done honestly and openly. I’ve had support from a good number of people. 43,000 people have viewed my bandstand video on Facebook. A lot of young people want to defend what I’ve done.”

Mr Chapman, who stood in the dock with a purple-tinged beard, added: “I don’t want to be seen as someone who’s causing a problem – I don’t want any money wasted on me.

“I’ve not done anything wrong – I’ve been treated very, very poorly by the council and the police.”

He added: “I’m also annoyed with the Derbyshire Times. They previously reported I’d been charged with criminal damage. Have I been charged with criminal damage?”

The magistrates replied ‘yes’.

Mr Chapman, who is currently banned from entering Queen’s Park, said: “I sometimes talk too much.”

Mr Chapman is due to appear at Chesterfield magistrates’ court this morning.