Teenage thief spared jail

A TEENAGE father-of-two who took part in an ATM “distraction theft” to pay the bills after his wife became pregnant with twins has been spared jail.

Junaid Aslam, 19, from Church Road, Manor Park, sneaked up on Nina Merlusca and grabbed her Citibank card while she was looking the other way.

He has already served a six month prison sentence for a similar offence on a male bank customer during the same period.

Following his release he was linked to the attack on Ms Merlusca on March 14 last year.

But this time he was let off with a community order involving 12 months supervision by the Probation Service.

The Old Bailey heard he came to the UK as a child after both his parents were murdered by the Taliban.

He earned several GCSEs and got a job with customer services for an airline but lost his job.

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His barrister Di Middleton told the court: “Adult life has come upon him quite quickly.

“Having gone to prison he really did miss his babies and feels remorseful and sorry.”

The judge, Mr Recorder Vivian Robinson QC, said: “If I had to sentence you today without your having served already a sentence of imprisonment for an identical offence you would be going to prison immediately.

“I am told you are trying to put your life together. In those circumstances I propose to impose upon you a community order.

“I have given you a chance. Don’t appear before the court again.”

Aslam pleaded guilty to theft.