A TEENAGER went on a crime spree following his release from detention, a court was told.

Jason Andrew Bolingbroke is now back behind bars, after receiving a ten-month sentence in a young offenders’ institution for the string of offences committed during three weeks of freedom last autumn.

Durham Crown Court heard it included defrauding a vulnerable woman, who offered him shelter, by making two unauthorised cash withdrawals, removing all £300 of her benefit payment from her bank account.

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Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Bolingbroke had offered to look after her new bank card and was trusted with the Pin number.

While on bail, he committed a series of thefts and break-ins on a drink and drug-fuelled spree, little more than a week later, on October 15.

Mr Dryden said Bolingbroke and two other youths broke into St Patrick’s RC Church, in Meadowfield, near Durham, stealing two collecting tins after damaging external and internal doors.

Although they failed to get beyond the internal doors, the tins, containing unknown sums of money, were removed from the porch. Repairs to the doors cost about £500.

They also attempted to break into nearby St John’s Church, but abandoned it having smashed a window, as it was too dark.

Items were stolen from two parked cars, before the trio broke into the library, in nearby Brandon, leaving a trail of damage and stealing £10 plus a set of keys.

Bolingbroke was arrested the next day and told police he had drunk a litre bottle of cider, mixed with a £10 bag of cannabis.

Asked about his behaviour, he told police: “If you like it, you take it.”

The court heard the 19-year-old, who was living in Grove Road, Brandon, at the time, has a record featuring 15 convictions for 30 offences.

Rachael Sewell, mitigating, said the thefts were “opportunistic”, while the defendant is “deeply remorseful” for the locations targeted.

She added that it was fortunate the amount of damage and items taken were, "of relative low value”.

Imposing the sentence in a young offenders’ institution, Recorder Sophie Drake told Bolingbroke: “Time and again there has been a cycle of you going in and out of custody.

“You leave the court little choice but to impose a custodial sentence.”

Bolingbroke previously admitted two counts each of fraud, theft and burglary, and one of attempted burglary.

He asked for 14 further offences of theft from parked vehicles to be considered.