A GARAGE director from Blackburn turned detective after a break in at his premises.
Blackburn magistrates heard Mark Turner went to investigate after the alarm was activated and found an laptop and a £5,000 diagnostic machine had been stolen from the newsagent shop in Preston Old Road.
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He made his own inquiries and found someone who told him he had made an arrangement to meet someone to buy some equipment, the court heard.
Instead of the buyer, Mr Turner turned up for the meeting and detained the 17-year-old who was trying to sell his property.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, attempted burglary at a newsagent's shop in Preston Old Road, going equipped for theft and receiving a stolen pedal cycle.
He was made subject to a Youth Rehabilitation Order for 12 months and a curfew between 8pm and 7am for eight weeks and ordered to pay £200 compensation.
Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said when Mr Turner met with the teenager he was carrying the laptop. He took hold of him and asked where the rest of his property was.
"The diagnostic machine was recovered but the screen was smashed," said Miss Allan.
The newsagent had gone to his shop at 4.30am and disturbed the youth as he was trying to break in through the front door.
He cycled off on a BMX bike but was detained by police shortly after. He had a bag containing tools and it later transpired the bike had been stolen from a shed.
Richard Prew, defending, said his client had not had much chance in life.
He said: "His father is serving a lengthy prison sentence and his mother is a drug addict who doesn't care for him.
"There has been a sea change in his life since he has been in care and the professionals involved in his care have high hopes for his future."
Sentencing the youth District Judge James Clarke said he could consider it the luckiest day of his life because he was not going to send him into custody. "A lot of people have put their faith in you according to the report I have read and it is up to you not to let them down," said Judge Clarke.