London riot aftermath: 11-year-old in court

An 11-year-old boy stole from a department store during London’s riots just days after he had been sentenced for arson and criminal damage, a court has heard.

The boy, the youngest prosecuted so far over the riots, admitted taking a bin less than a week after being punished for trying to start a fire on a bus.

The case came as details of an independent investigation into the causes of rioting that blighted the capital were announced on Wednesday.

The 11-year-old, who cannot be named, was handed an 18-month youth rehabilitation order and was told that his local authority will dictate where he lives for the next six months.

The court heard the boy, from Romford, Essex, stole a bin worth £50 from Debenhams in the town on August 8 after the windows of the store were smashed by looters.

He was already under a referral order, put in place for an incident when he cut the seats of a bus with a craft knife and tried to set fire to the exposed foam.

When the driver would not let him off, the boy threw a stone at the exit door of the bus and then kicked a hole in the shattered glass so he could jump out while it was still moving.

Police say they have made a total of 2124 arrests relating to the disorder, of which 455 were juveniles.

The 11-year-old’s court appearance came as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that a former chief executive of a London borough hit by some of the worst scenes of rioting is to lead the independent investigation into its causes.

Darra Singh, chief executive of Job Centre Plus and the former chief executive of Ealing, which suffered badly in the disturbances, will chair the panel that aims to give communities and victims a voice over what happened.

The panel will deliver early findings by November and present a final report by March 2012 to Prime Minister David Cameron, Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Clegg said: “Only by listening to people who have been affected by the riots, the victims, will we ever be able to move on and rebuild for the long term. This is not just about individuals, but entire communities.

“This will be a grass roots review, we want to know what happened at street level, not from afar and only from the perspective of those affected.”

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