'Under pressure' teenager coerced into stealing Xbox from supported accommodation, with accomplice selling it at Cash Converters

A teenager was forced to pinch a gaming machine from a supported accommodation unit where he lived – and pass it to his coercive pal, a court was told.

Connor Dolan, 18, entered his victim’s room at Askins House in Hebburn under orders, but was caught on security cameras doing so, a court heard.

Dolan, now of Berkeley Way, Hebburn, was seen picking up an Xbox console and attempting to conceal it on Sunday, September 5, 2021.

He made off and handed the device to his unwanted accomplice who sold it to a Cash Converters outlet – with the pair splitting the cash.

An Xbox controller.

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South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Dolan committed the crime aged 17 and had been threatened by his bullying associate.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “There’s an Xbox taken. He was a resident of some supported accommodation.

“He had no reason to go into that room. He’s caught going in on CCTV and is seen concealing something and handing it to someone else who has taken it to Cash Converters.

“There’s an element of planning or organisation in that the Xbox is given to someone else to get rid of.”

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Dolan pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary of a dwelling house without violence.

Val Bell, defending, queried why it had taken so long for the case against Dolan, who pleaded guilty to theft, to come to court.

She insisted he had been forced into committing the theft by the other man, whose identity is known to police and is being sought.

Ms Bell added: “It’s unfortunate that it’s taken so long to get before the court because this occurred when he was 17.

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“Quite why it’s taken to now for these proceedings to be issued is beyond me.

“He was in supported accommodation. He says that he was put under pressure to take the Xbox and that he was given some of the proceeds.

“He strikes me as a fairly vulnerable individual.”

During the hearing the Probation Service said Dolan had been threatened into carrying out the offence.

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District Judge Zoe Passfield sentenced Dolan to a nine-month community order, with 15 rehabilitation days, and he must pay £35 compensation to Cash Converters.