A TEENAGER who mugged a schoolboy at knifepoint has been warned he could face years in custody if he offended again.
The 15-year-old from Huddersfield, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced to a maximum 24-month detention and training order after he admitted carrying out the robbery in Fartown earlier this year.
The boy brandished a knife during the street mugging in January and took a mobile phone from his 16-year-old victim’s pocket.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that the youngster had previous convictions for robbery and his barrister Adam Birkby described how the boy’s childhood had being punctuated by stays in local authority care, abandonment and difficulties in his relationship with his father.
“He is in a situation where the group, or probably a better way of putting it, the gang he hangs around with provides something of a family unit,” submitted Mr Birkby.
“His lack of self-esteem is perhaps buoyed by association with that group in Huddersfield. His difficulty is that he has had no role model and no parental control which he could rely upon or be guided by.”
Mr Birkby said although his client displayed a tough “streetwise” exterior he was emotionally immature.
“Real fears are expressed in the pre-sentence report that this is a young man who is impressionable, who is exploited by others and perhaps rather vulnerable to the ideas and attitudes of those more criminally experienced,” said Mr Birkby.
The court heard that the youngster had undertaken some educational course work while on remand and Mr Birkby said his client needed to be moulded into the kind of adult who had a stake in society.
Recorder Paul Isaacs said the boy’s guilty plea to robbery meant he could limit the sentence to the maximum detention and training order.
But he warned the defendant that the sentencing guidelines for such offences involving 17-year-olds had a starting point of three years.
“As you get older you don’t get those allowances that I’ve given to you because you’re not yet 16. Next time you will be 17 or maybe older and then you will be looking in terms of years,” the judge added.