A TEENAGE dog-napper has been given a chance to prove himself after a judge heard he is turning his life around after becoming a father.
Justin Brookes pinched Jack Russell terrier Fifi when he burgled the home of her owner in a revenge attack.
The 18-year-old believed the woman hadn’t paid him enough when he sold her a mobile phone, even though he had stolen it from another woman.
After badgering her for more cash he and some friends went to her house when she was out and smashed their way in through the back door.
As well as taking a laptop and iPhone they also took the dog who had recently given birth and was separated from her four puppies which were left behind.
But after neighbours spotted the suspicious activity the police were called and they tracked the raiders to Brookes' house.
Fifi was found outside the property and reunited with her pups.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court Brookes stole the mobile on August 29 last year.
He was in the town centre with his girlfriend when one of her pals left her £300 phone on top of her bag, next to them, while she left them for a short while.
When she returned she found it gone. Brookes later claimed it had been given to his girlfriend for safekeeping, but he sold it to his dealer for drugs.
Miss Hingston said in reality it was offered for sale to another friend of his, Nikita Beresford, after he knocked on her door in Dean Street.
“He told her ‘I really need money for rent, do you want to buy this phone’, and they agreed on £35 and she gave him the money and took the phone,”she said.
Over the following days he started to pester Miss Beresford for more money, which she refused, saying she had paid what was agreed.
On September 8 neighbours spotted men acting suspiciously in the garden of the house and saw a brick had been thrown through the back door.
When the police went to the defendant’s address they found the laptop, phone and Fifi.
Brookes, of Sheppard Street, admitted theft and burglary.
Chris Smyth, defending, said his client had started smoking cannabis when he was just nine and had been in trouble a number of times during his childhood.
Shortly after the offences he was put on a one-year suspended sentence and he was doing well.
He said Brookes had moved to Bournemouth after reconciling with his mother and had contact with his child, who had been taken into care.
Since moving away he said Brookes had stopped taking drugs and was hoping to start at college.
Judge Douglas Field deferred passing sentence for six months to see if Brookes can live up to his promises.
“You now have the added responsibility with a child,” he said.
“I think it is in the interests of justice to defer the final sentence to give you an opportunity to carry on with all the good intentions.”
He said if Brookes stayed off drugs and complied with the suspended sentence for six months he would not go to jail.