A HOMELESS teenager who turned to crime was spared jail and after being given the chance to build a new life.
Dylan Wiley, 18, was left all alone when his mother and grandmother died and he ended up sleeping rough or spending a few nights a week with friends.
He went on to commit a series of minor offences like theft and quickly built up a record of 24 convictions for 42 offences.
Then in September last year he was caught carrying out his first house burglary.
Alert neighbours in Thirlmere Street, Hartlepool, rang police that a raid was in progress on September 24 last year.
Prosecutor Sarah Mallett told Teesside Crown Court that the man and his son who lived there heard nothing.
But police officers grabbed Wiley who was then 17, and another youth who was later released.
Wiley denied the burglary on September 26 last year but a jury convicted him after a trial.
Ian Mullarkey, defending, said that Wiley had a troubled background and he been homeless or living temporarily with mates for most of his life.
But after his arrest the probation service provided him with supervised accommodation with officers based nearby who could help when needed.
Since then Wiley had not committed any further offences except when he got into a fight with another teenage resident who had since moved out. Wiley was given an absolute discharge for that.
The court heard he now planned to start a college course to prepare him for a secure job and future.
Mr Mullarkey added: “The pre-sentence report sets out the difficult circumstances he found himself in at the time of the burglary, and the good progress that he has made since then.”
The judge said given Wiley’s troubled life he was prepared to take an “exceptional” course of action and give him a chance.
The judge Recorder Philip Palmer told Wiley: “Almost inevitably people who burgle a house go to prison.”
Wiley, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool, was given 12 months prison but the sentence was suspended for two years with supervision.
He was also slapped with a three month curfew between the hours of 9pm to 6am and he was ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.