A GANG of teenagers equipped themselves with a ladder and buckets to break into a first-floor flat, Worcester Crown Court was told.

After the burglary of the sheltered accommodation in Rowan Court, Worcester, last November Olive Colburn, who was visiting a neighbour at the time, found that £170 had been taken from her flat.

One of the thieves, Thomas Raymond, had since handed back £70, but she had been so distressed by the burglary that she was determined to move.

The alarm last November had been raised by complex manager Suzanne Parr, who had seen the gang on CCTV carrying the ladder, buckets and sponges, said prosecutor Charles Hardy.

Recorder Mark Wall QC said: “Window cleaning at night might well raise suspicions.”

Raymond, aged 19, of Rose Avenue, Tolladine, Worcester, who pleaded guilty to burglary, was sent to detention for 16 months. This will be less 61 days he has spent on curfew.

His accomplice, 18-year-old Zachery Poolton, of Henwick Road, Worcester, who also pleaded guilty, was given a six-month sentence suspended for two years.

Poolton, who had already spent 101 days in custody, will be supervised by the probation service for 12 months.

Raymond also admitted breaking into an unoccupied house in Tolladine Road, causing £1,500 damage by jemmying a window and breaking a door.

He was arrested after being seen by neighbours.

Paul Stanley, for Raymond, said he had been in a joint enterprise with other youths but he wanted to return to college.

Poolton had received a wake-up call from his time in custody, said Gary Harper, defending.

He had been in the gang which had ransacked the Tolladine house but nothing had been taken.

The court was told that another juvenile involved in the burglaries had been dealt with by another court.