Shane Preston, who gained notoriety in 2004 for being given “Britains Toughest ASBO” when he was just 14 years old, has been jailed for two years and four months following a spate of burglaries across Darlington.
The 27-year-old was caught with a stolen computer tablet in his trousers when police intercepted him.
Teesside Crown Court heard how he had burgled a nearby house within sixty seconds of the victim leaving the property, taking an iPhone, camera, purse, wallet, cash, and a car key. He forced his way through a back door on August 1, causing £250 worth of damage which the householder says she cannot afford to pay.
In a statement to the court, the mother described how hard she had to work to buy those items, also adding the inconvenience of cancelling bank cards and changing locks.
Preston was apprehended after trying to avoid two officers who were patrolling the area. He claimed to be a ‘handler’ of the goods and not a thief but was shown entering the victim’s property on CCTV within a minute of her leaving. Prosecutor Harry Hadfield told the court that Preston also left a boot print at the scene.
He later asked for other offences to which he confessed – four burglaries, eight thefts, and one attempted burglary – to be taken into consideration when he was sentenced.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC said “There was a gap between 2014 and this year, but then a spate of offending by you in the middle part of this year. I don’t know what went wrong.”
Jonathan Walker said in mitigation that after Preston’s release from his last prison sentence he performed well with supervision from the Probation Service, and was working as a volunteer, providing a clothing collection service for vulnerable people.
“It was something he engaged with well,” said Mr Walker. “With his increase in age there was a decrease in offending, until this spate.”