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Yob’s crime payback is a growing success
8:30am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
A TEARAWAY teenager has faced up to a neighbour whose door he vandalised by helping her dig a pond and tend her garden as payback.
Fourteen-year-old Josh Latham, who attends Uplands School and lives in Penhill, damaged neighbour Glynis Hales’ door earlier this summer because he mistakenly believed that she was trying to have his brother arrested.
Glynis telephoned the police who arrested the teen, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, and on May 13 he appeared in court for breaching the terms of an ASBO he already had in place.
Glynis dropped the charges of criminal damage to her front door since he had already apologised to her and she felt the numerous nuisance offences he had caused around Penhill had landed him in enough trouble.
Josh was then ordered by Swindon Magistrates’ Court to serve 24 hours of community reparation and be on a 7pm to 7am curfew enforced with a tag.
When Glynis found he was required to do community service, and he liked gardening, she rang the Youth Offending Team with the suggestion he should spend time helping her in her garden.
Glynis, who is a presenter on community radio Swindon 105.5, said: “It upset me a great deal. He apologised to me two days later and said he was sorry for what he had done.”
“I just saw in Josh something more. People said he was a hopeless case, but I didn’t see that. We need to give these kids a chance. You don’t give up on children.
“I knew that he liked gardening and of course I’m a wildlife gardener so I phoned the Youth Offending Team and I asked if he would do some work here. It was up to him, he didn’t have to do it.”
Josh decided he would like to serve his reparation with Glynis, although it would mean facing up to his victim.
“I wasn’t nervous but I knew Glynis wasn’t going to hurt me,” he said.
Even before he was due to start serving his sentence with Glynis he visited her to do some gardening and talked about what they planned to do to develop the space.
Glynis said: “He came round on the Sunday before and said ‘can I do some gardening?’. The first time he came round it wasn’t official.
“We’ve got big plans. We both talked about what we were going to do. He’s already taken down the clothes line for me. We want to eventually have a windy path down the garden but that would mean digging out the concrete.”
The youngster, who is one of 11 children, now spends almost every afternoon with Glynis, despite completing his enforce work requirement several weeks ago.
Glynis said: “He’s done more than just the garden. He’s dug a pond for me, cleared back the compost heap and we have planted some stuff.
“He’s sorted out my back room, which took ages, he comes round and makes sure I’m all right.”
When asked how he felt about Glynis and about the work he had done, he said: “I feel happy.”
It is is a successful example of the restorative justice encouraged by the Chief Constable of Wiltshire, Police, Pat Geenty.
Last week, Mr Geenty announced among the priorities was increasing restorative justice sentences for offenders in line with the vision of Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson.