Teen avoids custody again

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A TEENAGER risked being locked up when he stole a bike just two weeks after he was spared custody by a judge.

Leon Owens avoided immediate detention when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court in February for a series of offences.

They included leading police on a high-speed chase around the streets of Hartlepool in a stolen car.

On that occasion, the 19-year-old was given a suspended sentence and allowed to go free, after serving time in custody on remand.

But just 16 days later he went out and stole a pedal bike, putting him in breach of the suspended sentence and at risk of detention.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court sent the case to the crown court because of the breach of the order.

But Owens avoided being locked up again when the judge decided not to impose the suspended sentence.

Recorder Tony Hawks decided the order should continue, but made it tougher by adding a curfew to keep Owens at home at nights.

A three-month curfew was imposed meaning he must remain at Sydenham Road, Hartlepool, between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

Owens was given 12-months detention which was suspended for two years with probation supervision on February 8 this year.

It was after he admitted driving a Kia Sedona which had been reported stolen and raced at 74mph in Elwick Road where the limit is 30mph.

Followed by police, he drove on to a farm track on the outskirts of town and he and a number of other people jumped out the car.

Owens was discovered hiding in a field near Coniscliffe Road. He admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and driving while disqualified on October 29 last year.

The car keys had been lost earlier after the owner returned from a shopping trip. The car later disappeared from outside the owner’s house.

Owens was also dealt with in February for burgling a house in Hartlepool with a 17-year-old when a laptop computer was stolen.

He also admitted the theft of two laptops and an X-box console from a friend’s house on November 24.

And he pleaded guilty to having a bladed article in Kendal Road on September 12, which he said he had for protection after he was assaulted.

Ian Mullarkey, mitigating previously, said Owens “deeply regretted” the offences and said the driving offences happened when his relationship with his parents was strained.

But he was later reunited with them and welcomed back home.