Swindon AdvertiserTeenage muggers now behind bars (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Teenage muggers now behind bars

A GANG of teenagers who armed themselves with weapons to violently rob four boys on Halloween night are all behind bars.

The 16-year-old girl and five boys, aged 14 to 17, had dog chains, a metal bar, wooden mallet and a screwdriver as well as ski masks and balaclavas as they prowled for victims.

Now they have all been given detention and training orders after a judge at Swindon Crown Court branded them ‘cowardly’ for what they did.

The teenagers set upon the group of younger lads who were walking home from Wroughton after the wet weather washed out an outdoors party.

The boys, two aged 14 and two 15, were walking along a path to Wichelstowe between 10.30pm and 11pm when they saw the larger group coming the other way.

They were punched and kicked, struck with the bar and chains and threatened with the screwdriver and mallet.

After items like phones, baseball caps and a jacket, were taken, three of the victims were made to kneel so they could be kicked or punched by the girl.

The court heard that the boys offered no violence back to their attackers and they were told to stay where they were for half an hour and to not tell ‘the Feds’, meaning the police.

One of the masked attackers also menacingly warned them they knew who they were, using one of their names.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting said the boys, who went to one of their mother’s homes where they called the police, were fortunately only lightly injured.

He said a PCSO patrolling the area spotted the gang, some of whom he knew to be troublemakers, and was surprised to see them in that part of town.

The victims went on Facebook, he said, and on the girl’s page found a picture of one of the stolen mobile phones which she was trying to sell.

And when police went to arrest her they found she had sold the handset to her mum, telling her it was a friend’s out of contract phone and they no longer wanted it.

The girl and boys, one 14, three aged 16 and one 17, who are from the Parks, Pinehurst and Walcot, all admitted four robberies. Rob Ross, for the girl, said she had experienced a violent upbringing which had left her with post traumatic stress disorder. Con Fernandes, for the 14-year-old and his brother, 16, said they had never been taught boundaries or discipline at home.

William Woodman, for the other three, said one of the 16-year-olds had learning difficulties while the other and the 17-year-old played lesser roles in the attacks.

Recorder Tim Mousley QC said: “This was organised and planned: it was not done on the spur of the moment.

“On that evening you were acting as a gang. You were armed, you had gone out expecting to commit crime of some sort that night and you had no hesitation in attacking the four people that you did and you used weapons to do that.

“You had masks with you. All of the victims were frightened by what you did. It must have been a terrifying incident for them and any right thinking member of the community who saw it. I don’t know how you felt after taking from them. I suspect you felt rather pleased.

“You must even have thought what you did was rather clever, that you had asserted yourself against them and improved any reputation you may have.

“The reality of what you did was it was cowardly. You were in a group and being in a group you encouraged each other to do what you did.”

He imposed detention and training orders of two years on the girl and two of the 16-year-olds, 18 months on the other 16-year-old and the 17-year-old and 12 months on the 14-year-old.

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