Magistrates have been branded 'bonkers' after allowing a 16-year-old vandal to change his curfew – so he can enjoy a cigarette at night.
Despite the fact that it is illegal for anyone below the age of 18 to buy cigarettes (though you are allowed to smoke at 16), a court gave the teenager permission to smoke in his garden because his parents banned him from having a puff indoors!
The teen had been banned from leaving his home between 7pm and 7am after admitting assault and criminal damage.
But he returned to court to ask magistrates to alter his youth rehabilitation order because it stopped him smoking in the garden.
His curfew restrictions have now been altered to include the garden and garage at his family's home in Hazel Grove, Stockport, Greater Manchester.
But Robert Oxley, from the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It's bonkers that court time and taxpayers' money has been wasted just so he can have a smoke at night."
And local councillor Kevin Hogg added: "He committed a crime and should be punished. The whole system is going stupid. All this so a child can smoke.
"We are in an age of austerity where everything is being cut so to waste money on the human rights of a smoker who is too young to buy cigarettes is ridiculous. The court should have just told them not to waste its time."
But the boy's family defended the decision.
A relative told the local paper: "With a curfew you can't set foot outside the front or back door.
"The daft thing is the garage is two feet away and he has to go outside to get access.
"Until the curfew was changed he had to have a cigarette before he came home and that was it until after the curfew. He had to write a letter and go down to court with it.
We have a nice home and don't want people smoking in it.
The teenager's curfew – which ends on October 31 – is monitored by a tag which is set to go off is he goes too far from a box placed inside the house.
His lawyer Kieran Henry said the second case would have cost taxpayers at least £1,000.
"The public could be angered by this as he is pushing his luck and it is not really a good reason," he said. "But I can see the human rights issue – if you are an addicted smoker then you are being forced to breach your curfew."
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