Three teenagers have been sentenced after pleading guilty to six robberies in Watford.
Two 15-year-old boys from Watford and a 15-year-old boy from Borehamwood appeared before St Albans Youth Court on Wednesday, March 6.
They had previously pleaded guilty to the following offences, after being charged and conditionally bailed:
• Two robberies outside McDonalds in Watford High Street on December 4, 2018
• Two robberies on Hempstead Road, Watford, on December 24, 2018
• Two robberies outside McDonalds on Watford High Street on January 5, 2019
In all six offences, they threatened the victims with violence if they didn’t hand over their possessions. In some cases, they threatened their victims with a knife.
All three boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were given a 12-month youth referral order by the magistrates.
They are due to appear before a panel made up of community volunteers who put together a contract of conditions which the teenagers must adhere to.
Two of the boys were also given a 12-month parenting order, which means the offenders’ parents need to engage with support services and stop their children going on to re-offend. A breach of this can be result in a fine up of up to £1,000, or prison.
The boys’ parents have also been ordered to pay a total of £136.36 each towards court costs.
Watford Chief Inspector Matt Phillips said: “My teams have worked incredibly hard for several months to investigate and gather evidence in connection with these robberies and although pleased with the convictions I am aware that people are concerned at the apparent leniency of the outcome.
“Whilst the police are not responsible for sentencing and I sympathise with their concerns, I want to reassure the community that all of my officers are fully aware of these boys’ identities and will deal robustly with any breach of the conditions of their referral orders
“In each offence, threats of violence were used against the victims as a way of getting them to hand over money and possessions which has had a lasting impact on them and their families.
“It is also very concerning that knives were used to threaten the victims in some cases. Many people will know that the issue of knife crime is very much under the spotlight at the moment, both nationally and locally.
“We are continuing to work closely with our partners in Watford CSP to crack down on those who choose to carry knives and we have some positive projects in the pipeline.”