A young man with learning difficulties was sentenced to 16 months in prison today for stealing a six-pack of beer during the Manchester riots.
Dylan Whitworth, 20, of Costabeck Walk, Newton Heath, pleaded guilty to burgling lager from Sainsbury’s on Moseley Street on August 9.
Whitworth entered the store after others had broken the windows and when approached by police, he dropped the lager and attempted to flee.
The court heard how the arresting officer apprehended him with a baton before he was taken into custody.
Rebecca Tanner, for the defence, said Whitworth was in the wrong place at the wrong time and that he confessed he was “disgusted with himself.”
The store sustained total damages of £20,000 during the riots, with three eight foot windows smashed, £3,000 worth of healthcare products stolen and even charity boxes looted.
Neil Nehra, for the prosecution, told how Whitworth’s mother had phoned and pleaded with him four times to leave the city centre, but he chose to remain there.
His mother was one of seven people who submitted references to the judge on his behalf, testifying to his good character.
Ms Tanner said of the defendant: “He is easily led by others, which is largely due to his learning difficulties.
“He has been described repeatedly in his references as a caring, considerate, thoughtful and polite young man.”
In mitigation, Ms Tanner said although Whitworth was being tried as an adult, he actually functions at a lesser mental age than his twenty years.
Upon sentencing, Judge Michael Henshell said: “A crowd is made up of many people like you and some of these people are easily led, but crowds like these can turn into a mob.
“Therefore you can only be dealt with by means of an immediate custodial sentence, as these courts have to react to what took place that night.”
Whitworth will now serve a 16 month prison sentence, minus the 37 days he has already spent in custody.