Self-styled Spiderboy flees minders at fun fair

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The Independent Online
A 14-YEAR-OLD who calls himself 'Spiderboy', and who was convicted this week of committing 28 crimes in the space of four months, has gone on the run again - while social workers were taking him round a fun fair.

The youth - said by police to be a one-boy crimewave - was due to be sent to secure accommodation in Essex yesterday.

But he gave his two minders the slip while they were at the fair.

And last night police were looking for the boy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - for the fourth time in a week.

The teenager, who likes to be called Spiderboy because of his ability to climb walls, has made a series of rooftop escapes from children's homes.

In November he was captured after a rooftop drama in which he inched out on to a narrow girder above a car park and jeered at police officers as they tried to talk him down.

Last month he was sent to a secure unit in London, but was kicked out after only 48 hours because his behaviour was considered too disruptive.

Nine days ago the boy from North Shields, Tyne and Wear, appeared before the town's youth court on charges including burglary and assault. He was put into local authority care.

But after just 20 minutes he had walked out of the home and was on the run, only to be arrested two days later.

He appeared in court again on Monday and was sent to the same home, but absconded once more. Again police recaptured him, and he appeared before magistrates on Tuesday, where he admitted the 28 offences.

It was disclosed that he had been in secure accommodation at the Aycliffe Centre for Children in Co Durham for 30 months since the age of 10, at a cost to the public of pounds 260,000.

Brian Doughty, the head of North Tyneside Council's Care in the Community Department, said: 'We cannot keep him in our children's homes because of his disruptive influence on other children.

'He absconded again because there is no secure unit available for him - we cannot put a ball and chain around this boy.

'North Tyneside staff took entirely the right action in accompanying him all day.

'He will be transferred to a secure unit in the South as soon as he is caught.'