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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Boy car thief arrested again
A car thief tries the lock of a vehicle
Police suspect the boy has taken hundreds of cars
An 11-year-old boy dubbed a "one person crime wave", has been arrested again just hours after being found guilty of burglary and taking a car without consent.

After appearing in court on Monday, he was arrested on Tuesday morning for stealing another car.


South Wales Police will continue to apprehend and arrest youths who are intent on committing crime, in particular when an individual could harm innocent members of the publi

Chief Superintendent Jeff Cooksley of South Wales Police

The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has now made his 153rd appearance in under a year in Cardiff Juvenile Court.

The youngster is thought to have stolen, on average, a car a day for the last two years.

He appeared before magistrates on Tuesday after being arrested for burglary and the theft of a car in the Roath area of the city.

He has now been placed in alternative local authority care.

Authorities have repeatedly expressed their dismay that, despite having been found guilty of theft, burglary and numerous other offences on several occasions, the boy cannot be locked up or detained for his crimes because he is still under 12-years-old.

However, it is his birthday next month.

Limited powers

Police said the boy was a persistent offender and stressed they were doing everything within their powers.

"South Wales Police will continue to apprehend and arrest youths who are intent on committing crime, in particular when an individual could harm innocent members of the public," said Chief Superintendent Jeff Cooksley.

Car window is smashed
Police have said the boy is a serial vehicle thief

"We do, however, recognise that the courts have limited powers in dealing with children of this age but hope that we can pursue the matter to a satisfactory conclusion through a partnership approach."

The 11-year-old is facing a backlog of similar charges and has already admitted stealing a car and driving while disqualified.

It has been reported that at just 4ft 6in tall, he has to stand up to drive because he is too small to see out when he is in the driver's seat.

Despite a string of court appearances, the authorities say they are powerless to stop the boy, who normally lives with his mother on a Cardiff housing estate.

A 13-hour nightly curfew and electronic tagging has not prevented him from continually re-offending.

Police and neighbours on the estate where he lives say he is the cause of a mini crime wave.

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