THREE thieves committed “havoc and undeniable mayhem” with a spree of burglaries and vehicle thefts in and around Scarborough.
The defendants, all from Scarborough and one aged only 15, were told by Recorder Eric Elliott QC, sitting at York Crown Court yesterday, that their actions of two nights last August must have left their victims traumatised by the idea that their homes had been broken into.
Before the court were the 15-year-old and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and Dean Kevin Johnson, 19, of Middle Walk, all appearing for sentencing on a charge of conspiracy to commit burglary.
Richard Wright, prosecuting, told the court on the night of August 4, Johnson and the 15-year-old extricated the keys to two vehicles through the letter box from a house in Ryndle Walk, the householders awoken by the sound of their vehicles then being driven off.
One was later found abandoned close to the scene of another burglary in the same area when electrical items were taken while the householders slept.
Fingerprints and DNA samples later led to the defendants arrest, but not before a 4x4 vehicle was taken by them from a farm in Silpho.
Mr Wright said that the following evening the two youths set out in Scarborough intent on burglary, entering a property in Burniston Road and taking the keys to a vehicle which was then driven away.
This time a footprint on a wheelie bin used by them to climb a garden fence was to lead to the arrest of the defendants. But again this was not until the porch of a house in North Leas Avenue was entered and hats and gloves taken.
Police alerted to the spate of offending came across the youths nearby after seeing them discarding items from the burglaries.
The court heard that all three defendants had previous records described by the recorder as “prolific”.
The 15-year-old has convictions for 29 offences, the 17-year-old for 45, and Johnson for 17.
Although Recorder Elliott QC said he had initially thought of long custodial sentences for all three defendants, he added that he had been swayed against that by hearing that the youngest defendant had “the chance of a lifetime”.
Ann Mundy, mitigating for the 15-year-old presently in voluntary care of the local authority, said he had a chance of placement with a foster family which, for the first time in his life, would provide him with stability.
She said her client came from a very disruptive background with a drug addict mother who is separated from his father who, like her, took very little interest in their son.
Describing the foster parents as “heroes”, the recorder said he was prepared to give the youth his chance and placed him under a two-year youth rehabilitation order with a three-month electronically-monitored curfew with 12 months supervision.
He added that in the interest of parity, he was also reducing the sentences he was imposing on the co-defendants.
The 17-year-old was placed under a detention and training order for six months and Johnson sent to a young offenders’ institution for nine months.
Tricia Doherty, mitigating for the 17-year-old, said her client was at risk of becoming institutionalised but that the “penny now appears to have dropped”, in that he now realises there are victims of his actions.
She added that despite his age her client had battled with drugs and alcohol, and was in need of discipline.
For Johnson, Mrs Doherty said he was the least convicted of the three, drink and drugs causing his downfall. Adding that Johnson had become addicted to Diazepam during a previous custodial sentence, Mrs Doherty said that things started to go downhill for him when he was refused access to his 18-month-old child.