Teen spared jail - despite burglary and stealing a car
A TEENAGE criminal has been spared a prison sentence, after a judge admitted "I should be locking you up".
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will have to serve a year-long community punishment after admitting nine crimes, including his third burglary.
District Judge Joti Bopa-Rai admitted that the Cheltenham youngster had previously ignored advice from the courts.
"You are somebody I should be locking up, but at the same time we have to look at your age, your personal difficulties, and I know there are medical issues," she said.
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"There is a principle that we try to work with young people rather than lock them up.
"You are at a stage where your offending is going further and further and I should be locking you up, but there is an alternative."
In the most recent incident, the boy broke into a house in Kingston Road, Tewkesbury, on July 15 and took a selection of keys, one of which was for a car.
He then drove the homeowner's Vauxhall Cavalier through the Kingsditch area before dumping the car and running away.
Police dog handlers and a force helicopter later found him hiding in a field.
Derek Ryder, prosecuting, said the victim had been left shaken by the crime.
"The incident has made him feel sick with worry, because some of the keys stolen were for his daughter's house," said Mr Ryder.
"He has had to have new locks put into his house and his daughter's."
The boy appeared on three charges of driving a motor vehicle without insurance and two of driving a motor vehicle without a licence.
He previously admitted both crimes, alongside taking a vehicle without consent, aggravated taking a vehicle without consent, theft from a vehicle and burglary.
The judge ordered him to undertake a year-long youth regulation order, with intensive supervision and surveillance for six months.
For three months he will be subject to an electronic tag with a 7pm to 7am curfew, and 15 hours of education and training each week.
The judge added: "If you breach the order, I will be dealing with it and you will be going inside for a long time."
Dave Brown, defending, said: "He knows that the starting point is a detention and training order.
"I wonder if, whether you were to grant him an intensive supervision which has been outlined to the court, it could give some progress with his moods and thinking skills, otherwise he will be locked away for a fairly lengthy stretch."