A DUDLEY teenager has avoided spending time behind bars after he admitted possessing two knives at intu Merry Hill.

Horrified shoppers fled the Brierley Hill shopping centre on Saturday (May 12) after a fight, involving the 16-year-old broke out in the food court at 1.15pm.

Wolverhampton Magistrates Court was told that the centre’s security staff had called the police to inform them about the brawl, amid claims that one of them had produced a hammer.

Alka Brigue, prosecuting, said: “There were also 999 calls made my members of the public. Young children were present at the time and an elderly lady fainted due to shock as a result of this incident.”

Ms Brigue said that when the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was detained at the scene he was “acting suspiciously”, adding: “He told police ‘Please don’t search me, it’s not my bag - I found it on a bus.’”

However the court was told that he later admitted the knives had been in his bedroom “for some months” and he was on his way to hand them in at a police station when he was caught up in the violence.

Adam Wierczerzak, defending, said: “He knows there were far better ways of dealing with that situation - he could have took them to his mother or put them back in the kitchen, but he didn’t do that.

“He didn’t think, he didn’t do the sensible thing. He thought he was doing the right thing but what he did was very silly.”

Mr Wierczerzak told the court that the 16-year-old had been the victim of violence, adding that he hadn’t produced the weapons, despite being hit in the face with a knuckle-duster during an attack that left him requiring dental treatment.

The court was told that the 16-year-old, who is subject to a youth rehabilitation order, following previous convictions for robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, had been making good progress.

The youth addressed magistrates and said: “I don’t want to be involved in that kind of life. I was trying to get away from it. I don’t want to be drawn back in."

Magistrates revoked the 16-year-old's current youth rehabilitation order and replaced it with a new one, which will last for 18 months and include a four month curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

The youth's mother must also pay court costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £20.

Chairman of the bench, Paul Clewley, said the court's decision was an attempt to stop him "becoming an institutionalised criminal", adding: "This could possibly be your last chance."