A TEENAGER who caused hundreds of pounds of damage to a supermarket has been given a chance to clean up his act – thanks to a forward-thinking partnership between store staff and police.
Asda Boldon was left with a £700 bill after the 13-year-old jumped on to the store’s trolley bay roof – but they agreed the youngster could pay back for his crimes by offering his services as a litter picker.
Police spoke to the culprit, but rather than charge him and put him through the youth courts – with the possibility of a criminal conviction – they asked the supermarket if they could help find an alternative way to help him mend his ways.
The teenager has been litter picking outside the supermarket, in North Road, Boldon Colliery, under the guidance of store security worker Helen Richardson.
Mrs Richardson says she believes the youngster deserved a second chance, rather than a potential conviction.
She said: “Police were called after the lad was seen on our CCTV.
“They spoke to him and came back to us with the idea of using the Community Payback scheme.
“It happened about two weeks ago. If it was my child, I would like to think they would be given this second chance too.
“It was youthful high jinks but he could have ended up in court and getting a conviction that would damage him for the rest of his life.
“He is a good lad, he is very polite, and when he comes in, he is waiting to be told what he has to do.”
She added: “He has been collecting at least a full bag of rubbish every day. The damage that was caused would have been a lot of money for the family to pay. The bill has come to about £700.
“We have been able to give him a second chance and I think he has learned his lesson now.”
Asda Boldon store manager Graham Wiberg was happy to work with the police to come up with the solution.
He added: “It is a very good scheme. As a store, we are all about working with and helping our community.
“We would be happy to work with the police again if a similar situation arises and explore the scheme as an option.”
Inspector Dave Hudson, of Northumbria Police, said; “The aims of the Community Payback scheme are two-fold.
“As well as being a means to punish offenders for their crimes against the community without serving a prison term, Community Payback literally forces offenders to pay the community back for the crimes they have committed.
“The scheme really allows the community to benefit from the judicial system and it makes a real difference in local neighbourhoods.”