Boy, 15, 'cheered himself up' with bulldozer joyride
A TEENAGER from Truro who went joyriding in an eight-tonne bulldozer "to cheer himself up" has walked free from court.
The 15-year-old boy also pleaded guilty to threatening people with a 10-inch butcher's knife at playing fields on a separate occasion.
Magistrates said that both incidents could have led to somebody being killed.
The youth court at Truro Magistrates ruled that the 15-year-old should remain anonymous despite an appeal from the West Briton to name him.
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The court heard the digger was being used by Cormac, Cornwall Council's construction arm, for work on the Coosebean cycle path at Malabar.
Another boy, who cannot be named, was also alleged to have taken part in the joyriding but pleaded not guilty at the youth court on Friday.
Gail Hawkley, from the Crown Prosecution Service, told the court: "Police received an anonymous call at about 6pm on March 24 saying two youths were driving a digger around on Malabar playing field."
She told the court that one boy filmed the other on his mobile phone in the incident that caused £1,875 damage.
The court heard the bulldozer was driven into a wooded area.
Mrs Hawkley said: "The arm of the digger was swinging around and smashing tree branches."
Police arrested the 15-year-old boy and, three days later, arrested his alleged accomplice.
The court heard when the boy was asked by police why he had taken the digger he replied: "All sorts – I just wanted to cheer myself up."
Defence solicitor Deborah Von Kohle told the court the digger had been left outside the locked Cormac compound with the keys in the ignition. After the hearing Cormac said the digger was on hire to a sub-contractor and denied the keys had been left in the vehicle.
Ms Von Kohle said: "It must have been an irresistible temptation."
The court also heard that, on May 21, the same boy was at Rosedale playing fields and got into an argument with three other youngsters. He then went home to pick up a 10-inch knife and returned to the playing fields.
Mrs Hawkley said: "He put his hand down his jogging bottoms and pulled out a knife. He was described as waving the knife around.
"As everyone moved back, the defendant fled the scene and disappeared through a nearby hedge."
The boy's mother told magistrates: "He is no angel – what teenage child is? He has shown a lot of remorse for what has happened."
The boy pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking on Friday and had previously pleaded guilty on July 12 to possessing a knife and to threatening and abusive behaviour.
Stephen Norris, chairman of the bench, ordered the boy to pay £520 in compensation, to undergo an 18-month youth rehabilitation order and an 18-month supervision order with 50 hours of activity, a curfew from 7pm to 7am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for 12 weeks, to pay £520 compensation and a 12-month driving ban.
Mr Norris told the boy: "Both of your deeds were reckless and highly dangerous and could have ended with a fatality."