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Crimewave boy, 12, locked up after plea to court

A 12-year-old boy who has committed more than 30 crimes was temporarily remanded in secure accommodation today after youth workers told a court he could not be "contained".

Magistrates in Witham, Essex, ordered the youngster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to be remanded in secure local authority accommodation until they had decided on a punishment for his latest crimes.

Prosecutor Simon Newell told the youth court that the boy - who was celebrating his birthday today - had an "appalling record".

He said the youngster committed his latest offences earlier this month when he assaulted two care workers - causing minor injuries - and drove off in an Audi TT car.

Mr Newell said the boy was chased by police but drove on the wrong side of the road and mounted a pavement before being caught.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until March 16 and said reports on the youngster's background should be prepared.

They decided that the boy could not stay in the care home where he had been living after a representative from a local authority youth offending team raised concerns.

"We don't feel we can contain (him) in the community," she told the court. "He is highly likely to commit another offence which could place the public in harm."

The boy, who admitted assault and aggravated vehicle-taking, sat with his mother and a care worker at the back of the court.

He was dressed in a blue tracksuit, white trainers and a combat-style green jacket. He spoke only to confirm personal details.

Mr Newell gave brief details of the boy's criminal history, saying the youngster had violent crimes on his record.

"It is not a good record," said Mr Newell. "It is an appalling record... 32 offences."

He added: "Pretty much every sentence available to the court at the time he was sentenced has been given."

Magistrates refused an application from a local newspaper to lift reporting restrictions so that the boy could be identified in media reports.

Chairman Lloyd Chapman said the boy was vulnerable and it was not in the public interest for him to be identified by the media.