THREE teenage boys caught red-handed by police inside a South Dubbo house are facing up to 14 years behind bars on charges of aggravated break and enter in company.
The boys, aged 16 and 14, were arrested after police cars swooped on a Macquarie Street address at 11.30am on Thursday.
The swift police response was initiated when a concerned neighbour telephoned Dubbo Police Station.
Police said the neighbour provided excellent information to the supervising sergeant.
The boys were held in custody at the Orana Juvenile Justice Centre and appeared in handcuffs before Magistrate Andrew Eckhold in Dubbo Children's Court yesterday.
Two 16-year-olds were refused bail.
The 14-year-old was granted strict conditional bail.
Magistrate Eckhold described aggravated break and enter in company as one of the more serious offences on the criminal calendar.
Police said the trio gained entry to the house after the smashing of a window allowed the rear door to be opened.
The first 16-year-old to front court was a tall Aboriginal boy dressed in track pants, T-shirt and joggers.
Legal Aid said a guilty plea was likely to be entered to the aggravated break and enter in company offence.
The boy was facing three other charges, dating from January 10 and 20.
He pleaded guilty to entering inclosed lands without lawful excuse.
Legal Aid said representations would be made to police about a charge of entering a building with intent to commit an indictable offence.
A firm not guilty plea was entered to a charge of being carried in a stolen car at Kelso.
“He says he did not do it,’’ Legal Aid told the court.
“He relies on a parole condition preventing him from leaving Dubbo.’’
Charges were adjourned to March 18.
Legal Aid said the boy was intelligent and literate.
“He came to Dubbo to get out of trouble but admits he has been hanging around with idiots,’’ the solicitor said.
“He has been living with his grandparents at Dubbo and is under direct family supervision. If granted bail he would be prepared to abide to a strict curfew, police reporting conditions, house arrest and an order prohibiting association with co-offenders.’’
Magistrate Eckhold said the strength of the prosecution case was overwhelming.
“You may have potential to do other things,’’ he said.
“This is heartbreaking to see. “Bail is refused. It is sad for me to have to do this.’’
The next 16-year-old before the court was a slightly built fair-skinned boy with blonde hair.
No plea was entered to the aggravated break and enter in company charge.
The boy pleaded not guilty to a charge of taking and driving a conveyance on January 8.
The court heard he was awaiting sentence on eight charges of break and enter and single charges of graffiti, damaging property and entering inclosed lands without consent.
The boy was in breach of bonds imposed for 10 charges of entering a vehicle without consent, six charges of larceny and single charges of entering inclosed lands without consent and possessing house breaking implements.
Police opposed bail, citing the boy’s criminal past and a negative Juvenile Justice report.
The court heard the boy had shown “absolute disregard for his actions”.
Legal Aid said the boy had been using cannabis heavily.
“He was using the drug at the time of his arrest,’’ Legal Aid said.
“The court is unlikely to grant bail but the boy would comply with a curfew, remain under house arrest and seek a position at a drug rehabilitation facility.’’
Magistrate Eckhold said the boy continued to display negative behaviour in the community and at school.
He refused bail and ordered a previous bail surety to be forfeited.
Charges of break and enter and take and drive conveyance were adjourned to March 4. Other charges were adjourned to March 8.
The aggravated break and enter in company was adjourned to March 18.
The 14-year-old was the last to appear in court.
Legal Aid argued the Aboriginal boy was “a different category of offender’’.
“He does not have as extensive a criminal history as the co-offenders,’’ the Legal Aid solicitor said.
“Strict conditional bail could be granted.”
The court heard the 14-year-old was on supervised bonds and had prior breaches of bail.
Police objected to bail.
Legal Aid said it was in the boy’s best interest to be isolated from co-offenders being held in detention.
“He could live with his mother, report to police and abide by a non-association order.’’
Magistrate Eckhold allowed bail with strict conditions.
The 14-year-old must be of good behaviour, attend school, comply with a 7pm to 6am curfew and not consume alcohol or drugs.
Magistrate Eckhold said a $500 bail surety would be required.
“Someone must take responsibility for this young person,’’ he said.
The magistrate imposed a curfew conduct enforcement direction requiring the boy to present to the front door of his house for police compliance checks once on any evening between 7pm and 6am.
“The boy may not realise the seriousness of the offence,” Magistrate Eckhold said.
“He is in real jeopardy of going into detention for a lengthy period.”
The 14-year-old will reappear in court on March 18.
Three separate forensic procedure applications were put before the court seeking permission for police to photograph injuries on the hands of each boy.
The application also sought three buccal (cheek cell) swabs for DNA comparison.
Interim orders were granted for the photographs.
Magistrate Eckhold said the admissibility of the photographs could be argued at a later date when argument would also be put forward about the DNA request.
The forensic procedure applications were adjourned to February 4.