A TEENAGE boy, who broke into a Haverfordwest car sales garage with others, causing more than £18,000-worth of damage, was told magistrates wanted to send him to jail.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had previously admitted to two charges, while accompanied by others, when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrate’s youth court on Friday, August 2 for sentencing.

The teen had admitted breaking into Fred Rees Garage at Haverfordwest’s Perrot Avenue, between June 11 and 12, 2018, stealing eight sets of car keys worth some £2,000.

He also admitted a joint charge on the same date of causing some £18,000 of damage to four cars at the garage.

The youth admitted an additional, unrelated charge of, on March 9, stealing 10 bottles of Corona beer, worth £10, from the Londis store, Eastend Square, Pembroke.

Prosecuting, Vaughan Prichard-Jones said: “This young man, for unknown reasons, broke into the Fred Rees Garage with others; the only evidence against others is certain boys telling where they were.”

He said no further information on the other potential culprits had been disclosed.

“This is a mindless act of gross vandalism; they broke in and proceeded to drive a number of vehicles around; given the small space they obviously drove them into each other.

“Approximately £18,500 of damage was caused; they also took eight sets of keys - I couldn’t believe the price of the keys, £250 a set for modern keys - which cost £2,000 to replace.

“The defendant admits he took part in the enterprise, but he states most of the damage was caused by one of the other youths.”

The court heard the garage owner had to pay a £500 excess on his insurance claim and the annual premium had risen by £4,000 since the incident.

He said the unrelated Pembroke theft was a simple matter of walking out with the beer.

Defending, Jonathan Webb described his client as “somewhat troubled,” adding that “a person who shall remain nameless,” who “had a hold” over the youth, was “almost certainly the instigator” of the damage to the cars.

He said the youth, described as extremely vulnerable, was very apologetic, but there was “light at the end of the tunnel,” the youth justice team feeling a 12-month order would help him.

In passing sentence, chairman of the magistrates Paul Lucas said: “You’ve certainly become famous in Haverfordwest for undertaking an offence like this. The damage to the cars, which was all over the news, was immense; a really, really serious offence.”

He said it was only a comprehensive report by the youth justice team that stooped the youth being jailed.

“We were determined that we would send you to prison; you’ve got to thank the youth offending team for us not sending you down today.”

The youth was place on a 12-month referral order and ordered to pay costs of £170, and £20 surcharge.

Compensation of £2,250, to be paid at £10 a week by the youth’s parents, was ordered.

The chairman said it was hoped any others allegedly involved would be found by police so they could be dealt with and pay the other part of the compensation.

Compensation of £10 for the theft was also ordered.