Last, last chance for teenager

Prolific offender ordered to change his ways by the court or face prison in the future.

A teenager, formerly from Honiton, who committed a string of offences, has been given one last chance to stay out of trouble - by magistrates who told him they were taking ‘a leap faith’.

However, the youth could still face prison.

Ashley Brennan, 18, of Gabriel House, Exeter, pleaded guilty to a number of offences, including breaching an anti-social behaviour order, theft, using threatening words, criminal damage and possession of drugs, when he appeared at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday.

He received a community order for 12 months, including a supervision order, and a conditional discharge for the public order offences.

The court heard that on November 19 Brennan was arrested after swearing at police in Exeter - an offence which was committed whilst on bail.

He was arrested again on November 30 after swearing at members of the public in Cathedral Green, Exeter, including a young couple with a child and an elderly woman.

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Brennan also pulled down his trousers, exposing his underwear, in an area busy with shoppers and school children.

On December 5, he was caught red handed by police after a trail of blood was left at a scene where he had caused �200 worth of damage to an unattended bus.

Brennan was also caught on CCTV stealing a bottle of Smirnoff vodka belonging to the Co-op in Exeter and stole a bag, containing goods worth �2,700, including an ipad, from Honiton Railway Station, which had been accidentally left behind by the victim.

When Brennan was arrested for the bag theft, he produced a quantity of herbal cannabis from his pocket and later tried to assist police to recover the stolen items.

The court ordered Brennan to pay �250 to the victim of this theft.

Katrina Byrne, defending, said Brennan suffered with alcohol problems, which he is now trying to address, and had been without stable accommodation until now.

The chairman of the bench, Barry Rendall-Jones, said: “What we have heard about you and your offending, and what is written in the report, does not make pleasant reading.

“The sort of offences have been described as low level but are nonetheless considerably upsetting to a lot of people. Using the F-word and swearing in public may be acceptable to some, but to others it is a very offensive thing to hear and they don’t want to hear it.

“Taking something that does not belong to you, which is of high value, has an awful affect on the person that has lost the stuff.

“You have been to youth custody before and are close to it this time.

“Your solicitor has asked us to take a leap of faith and give you one last chance.

“This really is your last chance.

“You are a young man, but not young enough not go to prison.”