A JUDGE told a 17-year-old boy he had never seen a youth with a criminal record like his, adding that his presence in the courtroom brought the smell of cannabis.

Judge Peter Crabtree heard the boy, who cannot be named because he is under 18, was first in trouble with the law in 2012 when he was just 10 and was given a community resolution for damaging property.

Appearing before the judge at Swindon Crown Court, the teenager admitted failing to keep in touch with the Wiltshire Council young offending team after he was sentenced in February for an assault.

He did not attend a first appointment with youth workers on April 6, also failing to keep a telephone appointment and a face-to-face meeting at Melksham library later that month.

The court heard he was now living with a family friend and his engagement with the youth offending team and social services had improved. Efforts were being made by the council to find him a home when he turned 18.

The coronavirus lockdown had affected his ability to work with Wiltshire drug addiction service Motiv8, with youth workers trying to address his use of cannabis as best they could. Judge Crabtree observed: “The court smells of cannabis.”

An unimpressed judge allowed the 18-month youth rehabilitation order to continue, but added a requirement the boy engage with children’s services and the council’s housing department.

Judge Crabtree said: “I see lots of people in these courts. Some people get life imprisonment, some people get two or three or four months’ imprisonment. But I’ve not seen anyone in all my time (in the youth court) with a record like yours in three years.

“Unless you sort yourself out you are going to spend most of your life locked up.”

He reserved any breaches of the 18 month order to himself, adding: “If you breach the order in the future I’ll become far less sympathetic to you, because I’ll take the view the only place you can be is locked up.”