A teenager who was found with a ‘particularly nasty, vicious looking’ hunting knife probably had the weapon because he was out to commit burglary, a judge said.
“There aren’t a lot of things to hunt in Dudley,” District Judge Graham Wilkinson said at the town’s magistrates court. Michael Hill, aged 18, of Salop Street, Dudley, admitted having the four-inch bladed knife in Forest Road in the town on August 19.
The judge told Hill the correct sentence for the offence was detention, as that was what should happen to anyone caught with a knife in public, even if it was not being brandished.
But he spared Hill an immediate period of detention after hearing from Mr Lee Preston, defending, that the teenager had recently got a job with a steel company.
Hill was given a 16-week sentence suspended for two years, during which time he will be under the supervision of a probation officer.
He was also ordered to complete a 60-day ‘thinking skills’ programme, put under a month-long curfew from 8pm to 5am and ordered to pay £85 costs and £80 victim surcharge.
The judge also ordered that the knife should be destroyed.
Judge Wilkinson said Hill did ‘not have a clue about life, responsibility or attitude’.
The teenager had claimed he did not need to go out burgling to raise money for drugs – but because it was a ‘buzz’ and he found it exciting, said the judge.
“He is a burglar up to his old tricks,” added District Judge Wilkinson, who said he did not believe a claim that it was Hill who had turned himself in to police when they were called to the area.
He told Hill: “Your mum has had to pay off a huge drug debt on your behalf of £1,500.
“You’re out with a big hunting knife, which can be used to hurt someone if necessary or to burgle property and I think that’s what you were up to.
“You’ve got a job. It might kick from you your preoccupation with being a criminal and allow you to repay the love your family has shown you – and repay your mum.
“This is your last chance.”
Mr Preston said supervision would be good for his client.