Teenager stole from elderly to fund gambling

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Portsmouth teenager killed in knife fight

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A TEENAGER who broke into homes for the elderly to fund his gambling habit has been banned from amusement arcades.

Luke Banner admitted breaking into six residential homes in Havant, Fareham and Lee-on-the-Solent between January and March.

He also asked for another 23 burglaries across Hampshire and Sussex to be taken into consideration by the sentencing judge.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the 19-year-old would break into the communal areas of the homes and steal charity collection boxes, tea money from tins and cash elderly residents had paid for birthday cards as well as DVDs.

He would then spend the money on the slot machines at Southsea seafront.

Banner broke into Tweed Court, in Dunsbury Way, Havant, on January 15, and stole a blue piggy bank with the resident’s tea money.

Later that month he targeted St Clare’s Court, in St Clare’s Avenue, Havant, and stole cash.

Over three days in March he burgled Homefayre House, in Western Road, Fareham, Buckingham Court, in Highlands Road, Fareham, Robinson Court, in Beach Road, Lee-on-the-Solent and Homeryde House, in Lee-on-the-Solent High Street.

The court heard the college student had previous convictions for 11 burglaries and an offence of assault causing actual bodily harm.

Timothy Sparkes, defending, said Banner was profoundly deaf and was attracted to amusement arcades by the bright lights.

‘Luke Banner has significant problems in his life,’ he said. ‘He deals with them in the main, when not at college, by gambling.

‘He attends arcades.

‘He likes the noise and flashing lights. ‘He accepts that because of that he had a gambling habit.

‘He lives in his own world to a large extent.’

He added: ‘The offences are unpleasant in nature. They are targeted offences against establishments where he knows there are small amounts of money.’

Judge Graham White said: ‘What you did was very mean.

‘Entering premises where elderly people live, care homes, premises like that and targeting money which had been provided by them for the purchase of small items.’

The judge handed Banner, of Ward Crescent, Emsworth, a two year community order.

He will have two years of supervision and is banned from going to amusement arcades or any sheltered housing building for two years.