TWO teenage robbers who were part of a group which persistently targeted victims like “a pack of feral dogs” have avoided jail sentences.

The pair of 17-year-olds, who cannot be named because of their age, were given “a final chance” by a judge because of their troubled backgrounds.

The teenagers both admitted two offences of robbery in the Fulford Road area of York in the early hours of July 8 last year.

Passing sentence, Recorder, Richard Wright, said: “You went out into the night, the two of you, wearing dark clothing.

“Like a feral pack of dogs, you and others were roaming the streets looking for victims to rob.”

The first victim was a 22-year-old homeless man approached in Farndale Street by the boys who said they had a knife. The court heard he was living in a tent and all his possessions were in a rucksack.

They pretended they had a knife and chased him, the judge said.

“You took from him everything he owned. Not content with that you found a man walking home from a night out,” the judge continued.

The second victim, a man aged 23, was attacked in Alma Terrace while carrying a pint glass. He was punched in the face and knocked to the ground. Both victims gave statements to the court saying they felt nervous while out in town.

The older one had moved because he did not feel safe living on his own any more.

The judge said the teenagers acted as part of a group which was “very persistent” in searching out new victims after the initial robbery “yielded slim pickings”.

Both had “appalling records” but the judge had been impressed by the reports which underlined their difficult childhoods and asked for mercy.

He made both the subject of 18-month youth rehabilitation orders, telling them: “If you don’t grow up I will lock you up for 18 months.”