wooden gavel on table in courtroom

A 17 year old boy has been sentenced after being found guilty of robbing teenage victims of their mobile phones in March 2019

The dangerous thief, from Harrow, appeared at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 14 January where he was given a five-month youth referral order for the offences and ordered to pay more than £1,900 in compensation to all three victims.

The court heard how the defendant, who was only aged 15 at the time of the offences, targeted other children during the incidents in March 2019.

The first in Mill Lane just after 3.30pm on Wednesday 20 March. Approached a boy 15year boy walking home from school, and demanded him to hand over his phone and headphones whilst revealing a knife in his jacket pocket. The young boy handed the items over and when he got home he told his mother what had happened before she called police.

The second incident happened at the same location and time on Friday 22 March. This time on a 12 year old boy walking home from school had his phone grabbed and showed a knife to frighten the victim, who ran away.

The third robbery occurred outside the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, on Sunday 24 March at 3.10pm. The defendant approached a 16 year old boy and threatened him while ordering him to hand over his mobile phone, which he did.

Luckily none of the victims were physically hurt during the robberies.

Detectives began making enquiries and quickly ascertained that the defendant had travelled through the Croxley Green underground station prior to committing the first two offences. On Monday 25 March, they were waiting for him as he alighted the train and arrested him on suspicion of robbery.

Following a search at his home address, police seized a number of mobile phones, one of which was confirmed as belonging to the Chesham victim in Chesham.  He was then charged in connection with all three crimes.

The teenager has since been found guilty and will attend a panel who will decide the best course of action.

Detective Constable Rob King, from the Three Rivers Local Crime Unit, led the investigation. He said: “At the time of the offences, the community was understandably concerned about what had happened. After receiving these reports, we quickly gathered evidence and identified the offender.

“We finally have a court result for all three victims who were left understandably shaken by what had happened, and they have now been given closure.

“The defendant is a first-time offender and the referral order is a form of restorative justice, which is designed to support him in moving away from criminality and make better life choices.

“We hope he uses this opportunity to reflect on the seriousness of his actions and understand why they were unacceptable.”

What is a referral order

Referral orders are given to young people aged between 10 to 17 who are convicted for the first time in court. The aim is for the offender to take responsibility for their actions and face the consequences of their offending.

The referral order also gives victims the opportunity to be involved in the process, meaning they have the option to meet the offender and discuss the incident, ask questions and request an apology.

A contract is then drawn up to address the issues identified and the defendant must comply with the terms of this. If they do not, this results in further disciplinary action with the possibility of appearing before the court for re-sentence.

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Last month,19 year old Bradley Gill, of Little Hadham, was sentenced to seven and a half years after pleading guilty to 15 robberies and attempted robberies in Potters Bar, Hatfield, St Albans, Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford.

Detective Barnaby Goding, of the Hertsmere Local Crime Unit said: “These were disturbing incidents for all of the victims and so we are pleased Bradley Gill has been taken off the streets.

“A knife was used to threaten some of the victims during these incidents, I’d like to again reiterate that the Constabulary takes robbery very seriously and knife crime will not be tolerated.

“We will do all we can within our powers to catch and punish those responsible.”

Advice on personal safety can be found on the Young People section of the Hertfordshire Constabulary website.