Teen sentenced in Welwyn dog-napping case

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy who admitted being involved in a burglary, which saw three family dogs and around �6,500 worth of valuables stolen, has avoided being sent to jail.

The Watford youngster was part of a trio which broke into an Oaklands home, taking items including five flat screen TVs, while the residents were out on February 14.

Central Herts Youth Court, in St Albans, heard the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was working for his builder boss who claimed he was owed �2,000 by Mardley Hill residents, the Colwell family.

Prosecutor Jan Brooks told the court the group took the Jack Russells to a woman, who said she would look after them for money.

When the woman realised the dogs had been stolen and would be later given to travellers, she contacted the police.

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The dogs were later reunited with their family.

Mrs Brooks added: “There is not a day that goes by when she [Hazel Colwell] does not think about what happened on that day.”

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Barrister John Fuller said his defendant was probably under “peer pressure” due to the fact he had worked for the organiser of the crime before and that both of the other men were older.

He added that while the youngster pleaded guilty to the theft – visiting the police station voluntarily days later with a full admission – he did not actually know the dogs were being stolen until they were being loaded onto the van.

Mr Fuller added a police report stated it was thought “extremely unlikely” his defendant could organise such a crime.

Sentencing the boy to 18 months on a youth rehabilitation programme, which will include a curfew to stay at his home every day between 10.30pm to 6am, chairman of the bench Derryn Borley said he must also pay �500 in compensation to the Colwell family.

She added: “If you commit any other offences [during in this time] you will find yourself back in here but dealt with in another way and that could be custody.”

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