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Darlington criminal spared prison after running from court
A SERIAL Darlington criminal who ran from court moments after being threatened with jail avoided custody after it was heard family problems meant he "struggled to keep his show on the road."
Michael Claydon fled from Darlington Magistrates' Court in August after pleading guilty to stealing aftershave from Boots, assaulting a man at Darlington YMCA, and breaching a supervision order.
The unemployed 20-year-old was tracked down by police and appeared in court earlier this month, receiving a curfew for a separate offence of handling stolen goods after a £450 Darlington Borough Council strimmer was found in his bedroom.
Claydon, of Elmfield Street, Darlington, was back in court again yesterday to admit two missed appointments in a 12-month supervision order given to him following the offences in August.
Probation officer Brenda Robertson said Claydon, who was jailed in January for handling stolen goods, had a poor attitude towards his appointments and was often late for meetings.
John Turner, mitigating, said Claydon was at a low ebb, with his troubles exacerbated by the breakdown of his relationship with his mother.
He said: “He struggles to organise his life, keep appointments and ultimately keep his show on the road.
“He finds life very difficult, suffers from depression and has lost the support of his mother.
“There is a lot of work to be carried out on him and he knows that.
“He did not relish coming to court because he knows there is only a certain level of tolerance.”
Chairman of the bench, David Williams, told Claydon he had to start behaving or he would be faced with no alternative but to serve a significant custodial sentence.
He said: “Everyone is trying to do their best to help you, but at some point you have to go half-way to help yourself.
“It is important you co-operate with probation, if you are brought back to court again this order can be revoked and prison is where your next step could be.”
Mr Williams agreed to a probation recommendation to place Claydon on a re-engagement programme to improve his behaviour.