Snowball attacker locked up

PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 January 2011

North Somerset Courthouse

North Somerset Courthouse

Archant

A TEENAGER who was hauled before the courts for chucking snowballs at unsuspecting shoppers in Weston has been sent to a young offenders' institution.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to time in detention after he admitted two public order offences and failing to comply with the requirements of a youth rehabilitation order (YRO).

Magistrates sitting at North Somerset Courthouse on January 12 were told that the youth from Weston had been given the YRO after he committed a robbery offence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

But they revoked it after hearing the youth had committed two further offences while subject to the order – and sentenced him to 18 months in detention instead.

The court was told that the teen had abused a member of staff in Weston’s Boots on November 23 after she told him to leave because he was banned.

And he was caught by town centre Sergeant Pete Land throwing snowballs from the upper levels of the NCP car park in Regent Street at innocent shoppers on December 7.

Jane Cooper, prosecuting, said Sergeant Land received ‘several’ complaints from members of the public about a group of youths throwing the ‘missiles’.

She told the court: “One person said an elderly gentleman had been hit with some force to the head by one.

“It wasn’t a case of gently dropping the snowballs but hurling numerous missiles at shoppers.”

Owen Strickland, defending, said the youth had been having a snowball fight with his mates and they did not intend to hit other people.

In relation to the Boots incident, he said the youth was not aware he was banned from the store.

When he was confronted by the member of staff and he asked why he was banned she told him ‘you don’t need to know’ and he then swore at her.

The chief magistrate told the boy that the robbery and ABH offences were so ‘serious’ that they could see no other option than to send him to detention after he broke the terms of his YRO.

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