Brierfield boy (15) in betting shop robbery gang

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A BRIERFIELD teenager who was involved in a raid on a bookmakers and committed a string of driving offences has been spared youth custody.

The 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Burnley Youth Panel where he admitted robbery, dangerous driving, driving without a licence, failing to stop and driving without insurance.

The court heard the teenager was one of three hooded youths responsible for the robbery at Ladbrokes in Scotland Road, Nelson, on February 26th where a terrified shop worker was forced to hand over £941 in cash.

Mrs Alex Mann (prosecuting) said the teenager and two others went into the shop around 7pm. All three had their hoods up and the defendant stayed by the door while another threatened the shop worker.

“She said she was very frightened, terrified, her legs were shaking and she thought she was going to get hurt.”

The shop assistant was forced to hand over the contents of the till and open gaming machines in the store .

“They were all getting agitated and shouting at each other. Then they all ran out of the shop.”

The court was told the shop worker was now too frightened to be left in the bookmakers alone. Mrs Mann said the teenager’s involvement in the robbery was low level.

He also admitted the driving offences, on Christmas Eve last year. The teenager was spotted driving a car in the Daneshouse area of Burnley. Police gave chase but he accelerated and continued driving at 40 m.p.h. before crashing into a lamppost in Elm Street.

Magistrates sentenced him to a youth rehabilitation order with nine months’ supervision and a six-month curfew between 7pm and 7am. He was banned from driving even though he does not have a licence and ordered to take an extended retest. He must also pay £200 compensation for the loss of the money that was stolen, £100 compensation to the victim and a £15 victim surcharge.

The chairman of the Bench said he was extremely lucky to avoid youth custody.

“On both occasions you had the opportunity to stop what you were doing. The harm caused in the robbery was the considerable distress of the person behind the counter. It doesn’t bear thinking about that someone was too scared to go back to work.”

Mr Lee Hammond (defending) said the teenager maintained he did not know about any plans for a robbery when he went into the shop.

He was from a good family and did not cause any problems at home.

“This is a young man who is testing the boundaries. His father is at a loss what to do with his son.”