Court traps 'Ratboy' after six-year crime spree

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The six-year criminal career of a youth known nationwide as Ratboy was halted yesterday when he was locked up for four years.

The 17-year-old, who brought long-term burglary misery to eastern Newcastle upon Tyne, can now be named after the judge lifted restrictions on the reporting of his identity. Judge Gerard Harkins told Anthony Kennedy, of Newcastle, that he had gained a reputation which would take years to change and it was necessary to detain him for a long time to protect the public.

Kennedy was nicknamed Ratboy because, when frequently on the run after absconding from council care, he used to hide in central-heating ducts in the Byker Wall flats complex. He generally targeted old people and was finally caught by police as he climbed from the window of the home of an 84-year-old man.