Mildenhall teen given last chance to break cycle of offending

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A Mildenhall teenager who was arrested for sleeping under a hedge has spent more than four months in prison, a court has heard.

Connor Petts, 19, of College Heath Road, appeared today (Friday) at Ipswich Crown Court after pleading guilty to his tenth breach of a Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO).

While admitting that he was unsure what could be done to help him, Judge Martyn Levett told Petts that his “multitude” of breaches of court orders posed a problem.

Judge Levett told Petts: “You have almost bought yourself a season ticket in front of the magistrates.”

Petts had been arrested close to Barnham Primary School on September 24 where he had been sleeping beneath a hedge despite being banned from entering the village. Judge Levett said: “No one has suggested that you were there for any other reason than having woken up having slept under the hedge.”

Petts had been remanded in custody since then while a psychiatric and other reports were prepared in an effort to help understand the cause of his offending but which had not reached any definite conclusions. A psychiatrist believed that Petts was suffering from up to three separate disorders but no firm diagnosis had been obtained, said Marcus Croskill,defending.

The time spend on remand by Petts amounted to the equivalent of an eight and a half month sentence, said Mr Croskill.

Although it was his tenth breach of a court order in as many weeks, Petts had not been violent or stolen anything and by itself the offence was at the lower end of the scale but had to be considered in the light of previous breaches.

The CRASBO had been put in place to protect and reassure members of the public against Petts’ anti social behaviour, said the judge.

Petts had 23 previous convictions for a total of 55 offences, including shoplifting and the theft of a bicycle.

The CRASBO had been imposed by West Suffolk magistrates in April last year.

Judge Levett told Petts: “I don’t know what the problem is. There is clearly something wrong. It may be that you are just one of those people who don’t want to comply with anything.”

Petts was sentenced to four months’ custody, suspended for two years with a requirement to participate in a 30 days rehabilitation programme. The CRASBO will remain in force until April 2017, said Judge Levett.

Judge Levett told Petts: “It is only you who has got the ability to break this cycle of offending. It is a last chance.”

Petts was released from custody at the end of the hearing after being warned by Judge Levett that any further breaches of the CRASBO or other convictions would risk a longer period of custody being imposed.