A 19-YEAR-OLD who had already been convicted of 20 offences and spent most of the last four years behind bars was given an 86-day sentence.

Stephen John Shaw, of Broadmead Park, Newport, was given the sentence after admitting assaulting a man with learning difficulties, taking his bicycle, criminal damage, three thefts, failing to comply with a young offenders order and obstructing a police officer.

Shaw pleaded with magistrates in Cwmbran to spare him jail as he feared he is becoming “institutionalised”

by being “sent to prison over and over again”.

But chairwoman of the bench Carolyn Brooker said non-custodial sentences have proved unsuccessful after prosecutor Mark Salter read out details of his offending.

Past offences include common assault, for which he served 12 weeks, and robbery, for which he was handed a four-year-sentence at Cardiff Crown Court in 2008.

In 2011 he was also handed a 26- week sentence for affray.

Shaw admitted assaulting 18- year-old James Baines by beating, criminal damage to Mr Baines’ bicycle and taking a bicycle without consent following an incident in Bryn Road, Blackwood, on November 22 last year.

Mr Baines was riding when Shaw stopped him and said, “let me have a go on your bike”.

When he refused, the court heard, Shaw punched Mr Baines to the face and took the bike.

Shawalso admitted obstructing a police officer at Blackwood bus station on April 27, 2012, after they tried to arrest a man suspected of distributing valium.

He also admitted thefts from Asda, Newport, of clothes and alcohol on April 29, 15 bottles of lager on May 2 and whisky from B&M Bargains, Newport, on May 6.

Shaw told police: “I was off my trolley, dancing with the fairies.

I’d taken so much valium I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Defence barrister Linda Reid said: “He feels he’s becoming completely institutionalised and hasn’t been given the chance to show he can live in society.”

He was given concurrent sentences of eight and four weeks for assault and criminal damage and a consecutive sentence of 30 days for breaching a young offenders order, with no terms for the other offences.