Men pushed teens in pool, court told

TWO teenagers fishing at a Kidderminster pool were pushed in by drunken men, who then stole their rods and other equipment.

The youths finished up waist-deep in Stack Pool, Broadwaters, late at night, prosecutor Tim Sapwell told Worcester Crown Court.

And the incident in July last year was described as "bullying" by Judge Robert Juckes QC. The ugliest aspect was the attack by grown men on the teenagers.

Richard Smith, 30, of Hurcott Road, and Shaun O'Brien, 25, of Eddy Road, both Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to robbery.

Smith, with 32 convictions for 59 offences including robbery and assault, was jailed for two and a half years.

O'Brien, said to have five children, had his 18-month jail sentence suspended for two years. He was given a 12-month community order with supervision by the probation service at ten sessions of specific activity.

O'Brien was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and pay £250 compensation to each of the victims. The defendants also have to pay £100 each victim impact surcharge.

Mr Sapwell said Thomas Calcutt, 16 and Neil Poulton, 18 had gone to the pool at 5pm on July 16.

It was 10.30pm and getting dark when the defendants arrived and started chatting. Half an hour later, they pushed the lads into the water and walked off with their chairs and rods.

Statements by the lads, who recognised one of the attackers, demonstrated they had been badly shaken by their sudden immersion in the water.

O'Brien, whose record showed four convictions for six offences, immediately pleaded guilty, said his counsel, Fergus Maxwell.

He admitted that he had been drunk and the robbery was "conceived in alcohol." He did not drink regularly since and had obtained a job.

Antonie Muller, for Smith, said he accepted it was an ugly piece of bullying but there had been a slow-down in offending in recent years. He wanted to get out of the habit of drinking heavily.

Judge Juckes said the teenagers had been vulnerable as they were alone in the dark. The fact that their attackers had been drunk was an aggravating, not mitigating, factor.

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