A TEENAGER who threatened two schoolboys with a knife before he and his friend forced them to jump in a canal and shoplift has been given an 18-month youth referral order.

The 16-year-old boy from Huyton, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in Liverpool Youth Court today, Wednesday, March 7, alongside a 14-year-old boy who narrowly avoided a custodial sentence.

The court heard how the pair approached two young boys on June 24 last year while they were sat on a bench on Church Street, St Helens.

The victims then realised they were being followed down Hardshaw Street and the 16-year-old, who was 15 at the time, approached them.

According to Sohail Nazar, prosecuting,  he then said: “Follow me now or I’m going to stab you.”

Then, alongside his friend, he subjected the boys to a tirade of abuse. One was forced to jump into a canal and the other was ordered to carry out shoplifting.

The victims, who are also in their mid teens, were subjected to threats, and were punched and kicked resulting in one being left with a “blackened eye and bruising”.

Sentencing the 16-year-old to 18 months in a youth offenders institute, Judge Wendy Lloyd said: “In many ways you are a vulnerable young boy and I do understand that when we are 16 sometimes life seems very difficult than it does when we are a bit older.

“But you do have relevant previous convictions, you are not in this court for the first time or for a matter unrelated to your previous offences.

“You do concern me, as you clearly demonstrated you get pleasure from some of the violence and control and I suppose we have to tell ourselves that you are being honest about that at least that is a start of you coming to terms with what you do.

“I know you have had a difficult time and that you and your grandma have been trying really hard, but I have to look at the dangerousness and you do not fit into the definition of dangerousness we as lawyers have to look at.

“Even saying that you are a serious problem and the youth offending team put your behaviour as very high.

“During bail you have to some extent cooperated but it must be said you are not attending school regularly and you have been having cannabis fairly regularly, but you have tried to change the people you mix with.

“When dealing with youths, sending someone into custody really must be a last resort that’s very much in my mind, but I’m afraid having looked at these offences, because they are so serious, I’ve concluded that I couldn’t possibly protect the public or reflect the seriousness of these offences by sentencing you to a community order.

“I am particularly concerned with what you do with knives and the fact that knives are some what normal in your life.

“You simply cannot behave like this and you must in some way be protected from yourself.”

The 14-year-old boy, who is also from Huyton, also appeared at Liverpool Youth Court charged with seven offences.

He was given a 12-month intensive supervision order.

As well as the two school boys there were three other victims relating to robbery offences carried out in Rainhill and another in Huyton.