A troubled Norfolk teenager who tried to carry out an armed robbery to fund his drug habit was handed in to police by his own mother so he could get the help he needed, a court heard yesterday
Henry Barham, 18, had been checked in by his family to the world famous Priory Clinic, a popular retreat for celebrities, to help him beat his cannabis addiction, Norwich Crown Court was told.
But Barham admitted that he disguised himself with a bandana and held up a second hand shop in Norwich, G Jarretts in Old Palace Road, armed with an imitation weapon - a BB gun.
He fled empty-handed after the 54 year-old grandmother working in the shop refused to hand over any cash.
Ian Francis, prosecuting, said that after the publicity surrounding the attempted robbery, Barham's mother became suspicious and asked her son about it. He confessed he had tried to carry out the raid.
She then turned him into the police and Mr Francis said a BB gun was later recovered. He said Barham admitted he had a ?10 a day cannabis habit and had sold items which he had taken from the family home to raise cash he needed.
Barham, of Damocles Court, Norwich, admitted attempted robbery and was sent to a young offender's institution for two and half years.
Judge Peter Jacobs told him that he had confronted the shop worker with a weapon.
?You produced a weapon which turned out to be a BB gun. She did not know that and for all she knew it was real and loaded.?
He added: ?Your family acted very responsibly about this matter.?
He said after reading in the paper about the attempted robbery they had put ?two and two? together? and informed the police.
Judge Jacobs said vulnerable shopkeepers had to be protected by the courts and added that the use of an imitation gun came at a time when there was a ?great deal of concern ? about the use of weapons like guns to commit crime.
Stephen Spence mitigating said that it was a ?bizarre? incident involving a troubled young man who was of previous good character.
He said Barham would be like a ?fish out of water? in custody.
Mr Spence said that without his confession there would have been little evidence against him.
?His mother was the person to inform the police about him. She did it in an effort to help her son more than anything else.?
He said to help him his family had checked him into the Priory Clinic in Chelmsford.
He said because it became too expensive Barham had travelled daily to get the treatment he needed which had proved a success and he was now motivated to continue with what he had achieved.