Teenager admits burglary at church in Leicester
A 16-year-old has admitted breaking into a church and stealing wine, wafers and other items.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, burgled St Denys' Church, in Evington, Leicester, and took a haul worth £3,200.
He was given a six-month conditional discharge at the city youth court on Wednesday after admitting the offence, which he committed on July 16 last year.
Sally Cook, prosecuting, said the youth took a Dell laptop computer, an Epson projector, five bottles of red wine, boxes of biscuits and wafers, two torches, a set of keys, padlocks and a cash box containing about 50p.
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She said the churchwarden had left the building locked on July 15 but the next morning a member of the congregation told him they believed it had been broken into.
Mrs Cook said that on July 30 police went to an address in Aylestone Road, Leicester, and arrested a woman in connection with a stolen projector, identified as belonging to the church.
The woman said it had been given to her by a youth.
Mrs Cook said: "It was discovered the defendant and two others had been missing overnight on July 15-16 and had returned shortly before 6.30am."
The stolen keys were discovered outside the youth's home and, when interviewed, he admitted he and three others had been at a church in Evington.
Mrs Cook said: "He said one of the others had broken a window and that once inside he had been responsible for stealing property."
She said the defendant was the only person the police had sufficient evidence to charge in connection with the burglary.
Louise Mee, representing the youth, said he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and had been under the influence of alcohol when he committed the offence.
She said: "This explains why he could not remember exactly what he took."
Mrs Mee said the 16-year-old did not instigate the burglary but was more of a follower.
She told the court the youth was participating in a motor mechanics project three days a week and was making good progress, eventually hoping to find an apprenticeship in the industry.
Mrs Mee said he had been told of the upset his actions had caused the church and its members and he had accepted what he and done was wrong.
She said: "He has shown genuine remorse and appreciates how he would feel if someone did the same with some of his own belongings."
The magistrates agreed to conditionally discharge him for six months, considering his early guilty plea and the progress he was making on the mechanics project.