Police catch hideaway boy

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The Independent Online
A 13-YEAR-OLD labelled the 'ratboy', who lived in hideaways in ventilation shafts on an estate in Newcastle upon Tyne, was recaptured by police yesterday, writes Marianne Macdonald.

He vanished after being remanded in care on charges of burglary and aggravated burglary at a youth court last Tuesday.

The boy is accused of preying on elderly residents on the Byker Wall estate. He has absconded from council care more than 30 times in three years.

Police, who have described him as 'angelic' in appearance, caught him yesterday after a chase near the tower block where he has been hiding for three weeks. He was placed in secure accommodation last night.

His unemployed father said: 'We have have tried everything to stop him going missing.' A resident said the boy was one of as many as five who lived in stairwells and lift shafts on the estate.