A TEENAGE handbag snatcher has been warned he faces a long spell in jail after pleading guilty to robbery, attempted robbery, assault with intent to commit robbery and theft.

Burnley Crown Court heard 18-year-old Wesley Aaron Powell committed most of his offences in Accrington over a period of two days in October, when he was 17.

The court heard how, on October 24, Powell robbed Joan Bruce of a handbag, cigarettes, cigarette papers and a pink purse containing £10 and attempted to rob Ann Longden, of a handbag.

On the following day he robbed Pauline Gowers of a handbag and its contents, assaulted Patricia Barret with intent to rob, robbed Norma Stevenson of a handbag and its contents, attempted to rob Ann Hartley of a carrier bag containing a purse and attempted to rob Jennifer Walker of a handbag and its contents.

The court heard that on March 2 of this year, he committed an attempted robbery and theft in Brierfield and, on the following day, he robbed Bushra Begum of a charity box at AZAD Convenience store in Brierfield while, nine days later in Colne, he robbed Stephen Grant of a Giant Defy 3 Pedal Cycle to the value of £200.

Defending, Mark Stuart said: “I was going to be asked for the defendant to be sentenced today. He knows it’s an inevitable custodial sentence and he knows it’s going to be of some length. Your honour has seen his letter where he thinks he knows the sentence length he is going to get but that is a matter for the court.

“He wants to be sentenced because he hopefully can be moved out of Preston Prison, which he has found very difficult.”

Judge Simon Medland QC adjourned the case for the preparation of a pre-sentence report, a dangerousness assessment ­— which could lead to Powell being given an extended sentence ­— and for the prosecution to obtain victim personal statements.

Judge Medland said: “There is no way I am going to sentence a man of his age, a man with no previous convictions without a pre-sentence report and without a question of dangerousness.

“The court will need a report to work out what was going on in the defendant’s mind to understand what was going on when he committed this grave string of offences.

“I think it would be acting wrongly if I sentence him without a pre-sentence report when he faces a substantial sentence.”

Powell, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody to be sentenced on October 4.