London riots: Romford boy, 11, youngest looter in court

17:41 10 August 2011

Damage to Debenhams. Image by Jack Isaacs

Damage to Debenhams. Image by Jack Isaacs


An 11-year-old boy from Romford was the youngest among scores of rioters and looters to appear before magistrates today (Wednesday).

The youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Highbury Corner Youth Court where he admitted being part of a gang of youths who looted the town’s Debenhams store on Monday night.

His appearance came as court staff ploughed through the massive influx of cases from recent riots in London.

Defendants ranged in age, from different parts of London - but the Romford lad was the youngest.

Wearing a blue Adidas tracksuit, the youngster spoke only to confirm his name, age and date of birth.

He pleaded guilty to burglary, after stealing a waste bin worth £50 from Debenhams.

A charge of violent disorder was dropped.

During the brief hearing the court heard the boy has already been given a referral order after being convicted of a separate offence just last week. Prosecutor Steven Davis told the court: “This was 10.30pm on Monday evening with a background of serious violence in Romford.

“Police saw a group of 20-30 youths who were approaching large stores, breaking windows and looting.

“They saw Debenhams had had its windows broken and they saw (the boy) approach the window that had been smashed, lean in, take a waste bin and run off with it.”

He said when police stopped the boy, he said: “I was just taking it to pass on to somebody else.”

The damage to the windows was £6,000 but it is not alleged the boy broke them.

Defending the 11-year-old, Vicky Thompson said he was given a referral order after being convicted last Wednesday, but it had not even begun yet.

She asked for a pre-sentence report to be carried out before the boy is sentenced.

The boy’s case was adjourned until August 31 at Havering Youth Court.

Miss Thompson asked that his mother requested that “in the light of everything that is going on” a condition of his bail should be that he is not allowed to leave his home unaccompanied.

“She wants to keep him safe and not allow him to get caught up in this,” she said.

District Judge James Henderson granted bail, with what he said are “very restricted conditions”, which includes 12-hour curfew.

The boy’s mother shouted and swore at some members of the gathered media as she left the court, and could later be seen shouting at the boy.

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