THE teenage leader of a gang which terrorised a neighbourhood for years has been warned he faces jail for disobeying an anti-yob law.

Carl Rankin, 19, appeared at Teesside Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced for breaching an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) and for burglary.

But Judge George Moorhouse agreed to an application from Rankin's barrister Anthony Moore to adjourn the case so a drug treatment and testing order assessment could be carried out.

Rankin, of Sunningdale Road, Middlesbrough, was released from custody and given conditional bail until the assessment is completed a week tomorrow.

Judge Moorhouse said: "There is no guarantee that even if you are deemed to be appropriate for such a course of action, that it will be the sentence of this court."

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, told the court Rankin broke into a neighbour's house on the Saltersgill estate and stole ten computer games worth £270 last year.

On July 7, he breached a section of the Asbo that prevented him "congregating with five or more people outside any premises in the borough" when he was among a gang seen running near the town centre just before midnight.

A police officer caught Rankin, who had earlier drunk a two-litre bottle of cider.

The Asbo was granted against Rankin in May last year for his part in a campaign of terror against residents on the Saltersgill estate.

But the court heard yesterday how he had also breached earlier orders, such as an attendance centre order, and failed to surrender to custody.

He had been on remand since his arrest for the Asbo breach on July 7 until his release yesterday, and his barrister said he had made efforts to kick his drug habit while behind bars.

Mr Moore said: "Voluntarily, he has attended courses in prison and he is staying on the drug-free wing," he said.

Rankin will be sentenced in three weeks. Until then, he must observe a curfew between 9pm and 7am and live at his home address.

He had pleaded guilty to the burglary when he appeared in court in June, and was found guilty of the Asbo breach in October.