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Teenager warned over drug use

PUBLISHED: 17:21 03 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 11 August 2010

A JUDGE warned a 16 year-old schoolboy about the dangers of cannabis last week by telling him: It does your head in. Judge Martyn Zeidman QC passed on the advice after deciding not to send the teenager to jail for handling £270 stolen from a Royal Mail

A JUDGE warned a 16 year-old schoolboy about the dangers of cannabis last week by telling him: 'It does your head in.'

Judge Martyn Zeidman QC passed on the advice after deciding not to send the teenager to jail for handling £270 stolen from a Royal Mail driver in Barking.

The youth, who has a string of previous convictions for public order offences, was also caught with cannabis.

Judge Zeidman gave him a 12-month community supervision order and ordered him to pay the money back to Royal Mail.

"The prosecution have now accepted that you were not involved in the robbery," said the judge.

"But if you know that money comes from a criminal activity then you're not allowed to accept that money. It's dirty money."

Warning the teenager of the possible pitfalls of smoking pot the judge added: "I don't know whether you realise how dangerous cannabis is.

"I have seen many people, young people, 18, 19 years old who have been taking cannabis and it's triggered schizophrenia in them.

"To put it rather crudely, it does your head in."

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard robbers Nathan Sylvester, 17, and an Angolan-born 15-year-old, targeted Royal Mail driver Albert Donker on May 21 last year.

The victim, despite receiving a savage beating during the raid outside MFI on the Barking Abbey Industrial Estate, bravely noted his attackers' licence plate.

A passer-by also saw the raiders fleeing their vehicle.

All three teenagers were arrested for the £5,000 raid but prosecutors later dropped a robbery charge against the 16-year-old.

He claimed that the robbers had owed him £270 but prosecutor Lee Ingham said he must have been aware the money was stolen because the money was marked in red dye.

The 15-year-old Angolan went on to commit an £8,000 raid in June last year.

Sylvester, of Perth Road, Plaistow, and the 15-year-old, of Canning Town, both pleaded guilty to robbery.

They were each sentenced in September last year to three years and four months in a young offenders' institution.

Both blamed 'peer pressure', claiming older criminals had bullied them into it before taking their cut.

The 16-year-old, of Dagenham, admitted possession of cannabis and proceeds of crime.

Pastor Frank Frimpong, from God's Solution Centre in Peckham, south east London, said the boy had turned his life around since joining the church.

"If he had not been on the streets at that time, he does not feel it would have happened," Mr Frimpong told the court.

After making the supervision order, judge Zeidman added: "You break it and you will go inside.


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