Court told of Stalham looting spree

A 'polite and well-mannered' teenager stole sweets from six-year-olds in a looting spree that left a trail of damage through two community groups in the same town.

A 'polite and well-mannered' teenager stole sweets from six-year-olds in a looting spree that left a trail of damage through two community groups in the same town.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named, broke into the Stalham Sea Scouts hut in June last year, trashing it and smashing a skylight before leaving with a haul worth �1,010. Six weeks later he broke into the Stalham Town FC clubhouse and caused �800 damage.

Cromer Magistrates Court heard on Monday how the teenager broke into the Sea Scouts hut on June 6 last year and stole property including fire extinguishers, tents, stoves, a sleeping bag and some sweets.

The teenager forced his way into the Stalham Town clubhouse between July 15 and July 17, stealing property worth �320 - including four bottles of spirits, five footballs, bar equipment, kits, lights and a digital TV box.


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He also caused �1,200 damage when he set fire to a shed full of gardening equipment on an allotment on July 16.

Speaking in court, the boy said he was very sorry, adding: 'At the time I didn't think but now when I look back I know it wasn't right.' His mother said he had always been law-abiding in the past, and described him as 'polite and well mannered'.

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The teenager, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and one of arson, with an offence of theft from a vehicle to be taken into consideration when he is sentenced on a date to be fixed.

Reacting to the news, Group Scout Leader Shaun Partridge said: 'I guess as an adult you don't really understand what the impact is on the children. On some level you're always thinking, what if it happens again?'

He said two fire extinguishers were let off, destroying three tents and covering the hut in white foam, and the tuck shop run for the Beavers, aged between five and eight, was looted.

The Scouts have not claimed insurance because their premiums would rise so sharply they would be forced to pass on the cost - a move Mr Partridge said would price out the poorest families - so they have not yet replaced the gear.

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