Boy, 13, stole from vulnerable pensioners to fund a cannabis habit, court is told

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court

A 13-year-old Bradford boy who used his “butter wouldn’t melt” appearance to steal from vulnerable pensioners has been locked up for four months.

He stole from his victims, who were aged between 76 and 92, to fund a cannabis habit, magistrates heard.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, cried in the dock at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court yesterday as he pleaded not to be locked up telling the bench: “That time in custody, I promise you it has worked – I don’t want to go back to that place.”

But his plea fell on deaf ears as magistrates sent him to a young offenders’ institute.

The court had earlier heard that many of the boy’s offences were characterised “by the fact he looks sweet”.

The boy admitted four counts of fraud by false representation, six counts of burglary and theft, two of theft, and one each of criminal damage and assault by beating.

His mother, who was the victim of the “two or three punch” assault on March 5 this year, told the court she was willing to give him another chance, but she told the court: “I am really disappointed. I will wipe my hands of him if he comes back to court.

“He doesn’t care. I am sick to death of him – he is an embarrassment.”

The boy told the court he started smoking cannabis with some “bad friends”. He added: “I was getting the money to fund it. Now it is out of my system, I want to go home and spend time with my mum and little brother and stay away from those friends.”

On the impact his crimes had on his elderly victims, the boy said: “I am so sorry. I shouldn’t have done it and I promise it will not happen again.”

Three of the fraud offences happened on December 17 last year, when he knocked on doors and claimed to be collecting sponsorship for the Salvation Army. The court heard he got about £3 from elderly people.

On January 6 this year he entered a pensioner’s home and asked for money. She gave him £1 but he then snatched her purse and ran off. The money was later returned.

On February 15 he stole a tub containing £16 after asking the 76-year-old homeowner if he could use the toilet.

The following day, at about 10pm, he told a couple aged 92 and 90 that his mum was out and he was cold. He fled from a bathroom window after stealing a handbag containing a mobile phone and £90.

On April 4, he asked to use the toilet at the house of an elderly woman who had just returned from her sister’s funeral. He stole between £10 and £15, a silver ring and garage and car keys.

Two days later, he snatched between £60 and £70 and a bus pass from the home of a 90-year-old man after claiming he was collecting for the Salvation Army.

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