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A scheme which saw a teenage robber handed £60 a week not to steal by the Government has been exposed as a dismal failure after he was jailed for a terrifying knifepoint robbery.
Career criminal Casey Bowen, 28, burst into a shop in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and subjected staff to a terrifying raid in May.
He punched a customer in the face and forced two members of staff to open the shop safe before stuffing the cash in a plastic box and cycling off.
Bowen was given the moniker 'pocket money boy' in 1994 when he was handed a £60-a-week incentive not to steal - after he was arrested a staggering 37 times in two years.
But after forking out £1,560 of tax payer's cash in just six months, social services stopped the payments after it emerged his offending had got worse.
Bowen, of Churchdown, Gloucestershire, was paid to go on trips to Birmingham and London, visits to the cinema, the zoo, football matches and the seaside - but continued to offend.
And on Tuesday Bowen was jailed for five-and-a-half years at Gloucester Crown Court after admitting robbery.
A spokesman for social policy think tank Civitas said: ‘It was an enormous experiment which ended in utter failure. The 1990s scheme was a total disaster.
‘Young offenders were pampered when they should have been forcefully dealt with.’
Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, told the Daily Express: ‘I hope the namby-pamby do-gooders take notice of this.
‘Instead of having money and goodies thrown at them, offenders should be punished for their crimes.’
Sentencing, Judge Martin Picton told the yob he nearly jailed him for life under a public protection sentence.
He said: 'This was a very serious offence. You committed a grave robbery when armed with a knife, causing terror to your victims.
'Wielding a knife like that created an obvious risk that someone could be badly injured.
'If you ever commit an offence like this again in the future that will be it; it will be a public protection sentence.'
Balaclava-clad Bowen burst into the shop in Whaddon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on May 28 before staging the brutal raid.
He was arrested after police found him hiding at a nearby house.
Bowen ordered staff Philip Clements and Jemma Giesdorf to open the safe and fill a plastic box with cash.
The court heard that Miss Giesdorf has been left so traumatised by the robbery she refused to work without a security guard.
Bowen has previously absconded from children's homes all over the country, including the top-security Aycliffe home in County Durham where he got into trouble for assaulting staff.
In 1996 he got his second custodial sentence in two months for a 3am burglary at the Cheltenham home of a 100-year-old woman.
He stole her jewellery box and £40 and got just three months after his barrister pleaded with the judge: 'He is only just 16 and it is far too early to give up on this young man.'
Aged 19, he was jailed for burgling the homes of two elderly women and was told by the judge: 'You have a dreadful record and nothing seems to have stopped you so far.
'Your own hardships are no excuse for burgling other people.'
In May, Bowen admitted threatening to kill police officers and their children after he stole alcohol and threatened staff at a Cheltenham supermarket.
He was jailed for a week for a similar offence last October.
In July 2005, he was jailed for a year for harassing a former girlfriend by bombarding her with 800 text messages.
Bowen's younger brother, Clinton, was dubbed 'Canal Boat boy' after he was given a supervision order with a 'specified activity' - a three-month cruise with an organisation called Care Afloat, costing £1,100 a week.
Tags: scheme, teenage, robber, steal, Government, dismal, incentive, terrifying, knifepoint, robbery, failure, Career, criminal, social, services, offending, Casey, Bowen
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