An 11-year-old boy, thought to be London's youngest rioter has been given an 18-month rehabilitation order for his behaviour during the London riots.
The boy stole a bin worth £50 from the Debenhams in Romford during the riots, just five months after receiving a referral order for arson, carrying a pointed instrument and criminal damage.
He took the bin after rioters smashed the windows of the Debenhams store, which caused £6,000 worth of damage. The lad was seen by a police officer reaching to take it from a display inside the smashed shop.
Sentencing the boy to his rehabilitation order, judge John Woollard said:
'You seem to think that nobody can stop the way you behave. My view is that the offence is a very serious one. If you were a little older you would be ending up in prison, you would be looked after there rather than elsewhere.
'You need to understand very clearly that you can't get away with committing offences of this nature.'
The boy was told his local authority would decide where he lives over the next six months as he was already under a restraining order for cutting the seats off a bus with a Stanley knife. During that incident, the bus driver refused to let him off the bus, so he threw a stone through the door and jumped out of the moving bus through the smashed glass.
Barnardo's chief executive, Anne Marie Carrie criticised the boy's sentence and other rulings, saying young children were being punished too much for minor offences:
'It is both counterproductive and costly to hand out disproportionately punitive sentences for minor offences such as petty theft, particularly to younger children of 10 or 11.
'We are calling on the government to reconsider treatment of the youngest children in trouble within the criminal justice system. We would urge them to spend money more wisely on more effective ways to stop youth crime crime, such as whole family approaches like family intervention projects.'
Do you agree with Barnardo's or do you think it is right to punish young people for their actions?