14/08/2014 16:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Police 'Forgot' About Teenage Looter From Summer 2011 Riots

Police 'forgot' about rioting teenager

A young rioter has been spared jail despite being caught stealing during the riots in the summer of 2011 - because the police 'forgot' about him.

The Express and Star reports that Welsey Cox, then 18, was arrested in Wolverhampton in August 2011 after he took a computer system and internet router from a store which was being ransacked by rioters.

He was arrested shortly after and released on bail, but heard no more from the police until he himself was a victim of burglary in London earlier this year.

Wolverhampton Crown Court was told that this incident brought Cox back to the police's attention and he was charged with the offences from 2011.

Judge Michael Challinor said that had Cox been before the court immediately after the riots, he would have been sent to jail, but the long delay meant he had to reduce his sentence.

The judge handed down a four-month term suspended for 12 months and told Cox that had it not been for the 'completely unexplained delay of two years' he would have been sent to prison. Other rioters who had targeted the shop had been jailed for 10 months.

"I don't publicly criticise anyone for the delay – it just seems to be an oversight," the judge said.

West Midlands Police spokesman Lee Page said Cox failed to answer bail and was then registered on the Police National Computer as wanted.

"We have systems in place to identify, track and locate individuals who fail to appear. Our search for people suspected of being involved in the August 2011 riots continues," he said.