A TEENAGER robbed a 12-year-old boy on a town centre street after telling him he was carrying a knife.

The victim and his friends were left in tears after they were attacked near to Golden Square Shopping Centre.

But the robber, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was spared jail time on Wednesday, July 10.

Warrington Magistrates Court heard that the 12-year-old victim and two of his young friends were cycling along Bridge Street on Saturday, December 2 2017, when they were approached by the 15-year-old defendant.

The youth, who was 14 at the time of the incident, ordered the trio to follow him.

He led them along Sankey Street, near to the shopping centre entrance by the Nationwide bank, before telling the boy he had a knife in his pocket and demanding that he give him his bicycle.

Initially, the victim refused – but the defendant asked the victim 'if he wanted him to get angry'.

The boy 'felt intimidated' and gave the teen his bike, before he cycled away.

After the attack, the three boys fled to one of their mums' workplaces in order to tearfully tell her what had happened.

Later that day, the defendant – who had no previous convictions – was seen cycling on the car park of the Cockhedge Centre and the bike was recovered.

The youth, from Preston, was found guilty of robbery after a trial but offered to write a letter of apology to his victim.

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District judge Bridget Knight handed him a 12-month youth rehabilitation order with a year-long supervision requirement.

Sentencing, judge Knight said: "The maximum power I have is to send you to custody, but I'm not going to do that.

"I pay a lot of regard to the fact that you were 14 at the time and you are not a persistent offender.

"I'm not giving up on you, even though this is a very serious offence.

"I think you are a bright boy – make sure you do not appear before the courts again."

Judge Knight also handed the boy a restraining order preventing him not to contact the victim or his friends for a year, and told him to pay a victim surcharge of £20.