A TEENAGER dubbed the “Pied Piper” of a gang of young “feral” thieves has been warned a lengthy custodial term is “almost inevitable”.

Jamie Cowens, 19, of Thurston Gardens, Allerton, appeared at Bradford Crown Court this week, where the extent of his criminal offending was laid bare.

He will be sentenced next month for a catalogue of offences including burglary, robbery, theft and common assault.

In July last year, the notorious teenager was served with a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) after persistently flouting banning and dispersal orders to offend in various areas across Bradford.

He was described by police as one of the ringleaders of a “flash mob” which terrorised retailers with regular incidents of theft and intimidation.

A CBO can only be applied for if the prosecution can prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the offender has engaged in behaviour causing harassment, alarm, or distress to others, and that the order would help from stopping the defendant engaging in such behaviour in the future.

A report outlining Cowens’ behaviour was given to magistrates as evidence to justify the CBO, including seven incidents between March and May last year at Morrisons stores which the defendant was already banned from.

Many of the altercations involved a group including Cowens attempting to steal alcohol, with on one occasion, the group stating they were “going to smash the face in” of staff who tried to get them to leave.

The other premises involved included various Sainsburys stores and shops in The Broadway centre.

At the time, Helen Smith, an anti-social behaviour officer working with Bradford police, told magistrates: “Mr Cowens is one of the ringleaders of a group of feral youths who are acting as a flash mob. He is a bit like the Pied Piper.”

He is also banned from entering a number of premises and venues - including Sainsburys, Tesco, and Bradford Interchange - and must not “congregate in a group of two or more in a public place in a manner which causes or is likely to cause any person to fear for their safety.”

But during an appearance at Bradford Crown Court this week, Recorder Tom Little warned Cowens that it was likely he would be locked up.

At the same hearing, the teen entered guilty pleas to burglary, fraud, attempted burglary and going equipped - offences which all happened last October.

In July, he also pleaded guilty to robbery, common assault and five counts of theft.

Frances Pensheon, for Cowens, told the court that his offending began in April 2017.

She said he had a scholarship at Bradford City and had a promising career and future, but that changed in 2016 when he broke his leg.

Ms Pensheon said this effectively ended his football career, as well as the college place and bursary which went alongside the scholarship.

He then became homeless following a fall out with family and moved into the Bradford Foyer hostel.

Recorder Little adjourned sentencing until September 6 so a pre-sentence report can be prepared.

Cowens also faces a trial at magistrates’ court on September 11 for a breach of the CBO.

Ms Pensheon said the details were brief, but it appears to have been a chance association with someone in a supermarket who he should not have been in the company of, as per the requirements of the order.

Cowens was remanded in custody until his next appearance at Bradford Crown Court.