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Jobless Paignton youth resorted to street robbery

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 12, 2012

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A jobless farm worker has been jailed after he turned to mugging to pay his rent when he was laid off work because of the wet summer.

Luke McKenzie, aged 19, carried out a string of street robberies on teenagers walking through the streets of Paignton late at night, Exeter Crown Court was told.

He needed the money because wet weather stopped him from earning a living and he did not realise he was entitled to benefits.

McKenzie, of Totnes Road, Paignton, admitted one robbery and asked for two others and an attempted robbery to be considered.

He was jailed in a Young Offenders Institution for 15 months by Judge John Neligan who told him: "This was a classic mugging, you robbed a young man in the street at night as he was walking home.

"You selected this youngster because you were short of money. You were temporarily without work and didn't know how to claim the appropriate benefits.

"A lot of people are in that position and they do not resort to muggings."

Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said McKenzie robbed a 13 and 14-year-old on one night and a 17-year-old a week later.

He attacked the last victim in Dartmouth Road, Paignton, hitting him in the face and causing a black eye and cut lip and making off with his iPod and mobile phone which police later found on McKenzie.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said his client had been in care and moved to Devon from Newcastle when he was 16 but struggled because his social work team are still based in the North East.

He said: "He got a job as a hay baler, but if you remember the summer, or what passed for a summer, it was very wet and he could not work and he found he could not pay his rent."

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  • robocop1982  |  November 13 2012, 5:56PM

    I don't like the way the media refer to people as jobless and not with this story but with other stories. Millions are unemployed and i think its pathtic how the media ridicule people who cannot find employment. I am not defending this scumbag but in general its quite sad how the media refer to people as jobless. THE media would not have a job if it wasn't for them publicizing stories about the suffering of others. I find it sad how the media make money from publicizing stories about the suffering of victims and bad news. THe media thrives on bad news. THere should be a law that prevents profit being made by journalists from publicizing stories about people's suffering. the media makes profit from publicizing stories about car crashes and stuff like that and assaults. they have profited from this story and the victims suffering. THat is disgusting. these grunts have gone to far

  • howardd1  |  November 12 2012, 3:32PM

    why do we now use this american word when it should be robbery with violence ,used to carry min of 5 yrs on the rock pile , were have we gone wrong ???

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  • hughanchor  |  November 12 2012, 3:27PM

    And will he be sent back to Newcastle when he comes out? I hope so. Give him an ASBO that forces him to stay in Newcastle, they are welcome to him, we don't want him.

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  • vulcan  |  November 12 2012, 2:12PM

    Lowlife coward