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Boy, 12, sentenced for riots theft

A 12-year-old boy who stole chocolate and crisps from a shop during the riots in Britain last month has received a nine-month referral order.

The youth pleaded guilty to violent disorder and theft on August 8 in Hackney, north-east London, at a hearing at Thames Magistrates' Court, sitting as a youth court.

Taiwo Adesina, prosecuting, told the court the boy had been seen on CCTV throwing bottles at police and attempting to set fire to a building.

"He was seen on CCTV along with lots of other persons - about 50 to 52 people - was seen to throw items at members of the public.

"On at least four occasions, he threw bottles and hurled missiles at the police."

The boy told District Judge Jacqueline Comyns that he had stolen crisps and chocolate from the convenience store, in Clarence Road.

Tim Spooner, defending, told the court the boy had been playing football when a "slightly older boy" had told him to "come with me".

He said the boy had said he felt afraid of other youths and the bottles he threw fell "well short" of police officers.

"He told me that when he threw the bottles he was afraid that he might be subject to some violence or at least could get into trouble," he said.

The court heard the referral order will mean community payback work helping clear up riot damage or work on other schemes in the borough.