A "VULNERABLE" young Shipley man has been handed a community order for his part in raiding a narrowboat being used by Australian holidaymakers.

Connor Wilford, 19, appeared before Bradford Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after pleading guilty to burglary.

Prosecutor Robert Yates said a handbag, a camera worth £400, a laptop worth £500, a purse containing around £120 to £150 and 100 Australian dollars, among other items, were swiped from the boat on October 10 last year.

He told the court that a plain clothes police officer was in the area that night on an unrelated matter when he saw two young men on the canal towpath with a torch, which they switched off when they saw him. The officer continued on his way, but made a note to return later to see if they were still in the area.

Mr Yates said the two males, which included Wilford, broke into the 'Hum Drum' boat using a pair of bolt cutters to cut the padlock.

Some time after, that the officer returned to Skipton and saw the two males with bags with them and a pair of bolt cutters.

The officer went over and while the other male ran off, Wilford, who has previous convictions for burglary and robbery, was apprehended and taken into custody. He eventually accepted his involvement in the offence and also named another suspect, who is due to face trial at magistrates' court.

Defending, Fuad Arshad described Wilford, of Bradford Road, Shipley, as a a young man with "considerable" intellectual difficulty, easily led astray and exploited.

Mr Arshad said Wilford has to live in supported lodgings and is hoping to go to college to study a course related to working with animals.

In sentencing, Judge David Hatton said: "Ordinarily, in these circumstances I would not hesitate to impose a custodial sentence in a young offender's institute for someone of your age, particularly having regard to the fact you have committed offences of burglary and robbery previously. But this is not a usual and ordinary case. Having read a great deal about you, it's particularly clear that you are a young man who suffers, sadly, a number of difficulties and are a vulnerable young man."

He added that a young offender's institute was not the place for Wilford, but warned him that if he continued offending, the court would have "no choice" but to send him there or to prison.

Wilford will be required to carry out rehabilitation activity and unpaid work as part of the order, which will last for two years.