Teenager admits burgling Beccles school site and taking �7,500 of computers

A 13-year-old boy who was part of a gang that broke into the former Beccles Middle School and stole �7,500 of computers and computer equipment was sentenced to a youth referral order.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted breaking into the site in August and taking more than 20 computers from a classroom.

He pleaded guilty to burgling the building, which is in the process of being handed over to Sir John Leman High School, when he appeared at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court yesterday.

Sandra Dyer, prosecuting, said the break-in was reported on August 13 when a caretaker entered the building and saw the computers had been taken from the classroom and damage had been caused.

Miss Dyer said the 13-year-old from the Beccles area was arrested after a fingerprint was found and, once presented with that evidence, he confessed to police. However, the youth did not identify any of his three accomplices, who were said to have roped him into committing the burglary.

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The computers have not been recovered.

Magistrates heard the 13-year-old, who wore a shirt and tie in the dock, had no previous convictions with Miss Dyer describing him as a 'lad of previous good character'.

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Rob Barley, mitigating, said: 'He was not the instigator of what happened. They (the gang) got into the school through a boarded-up window.

'The four individuals involved in taking the items passed them through the window.

'He (the youth) has not benefited from taking them. We have a 13-year-old who had got involved in something not of his own making.'

Mr Barley said the youth had been 'lead astray by slightly more street wise kids' and he got caught up in the adrenalin rush and excitement when he should have employed common sense and not taken part in the burglary.

Mr Barley added: 'Of course it is matter of great regret he finds himself here today. He has never been in trouble before. He sounds like a very normal 13-year-old.'

When asked by magistrates to make a comment on his offence the youth said: 'I was very stupid.'

The youth was sentenced to a nine-month youth referral order, in which he will be given tasks to do.

His mother was ordered to pay �1,000 compensation to the school.

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