A TEENAGER who attempted to break into two houses in Prestwich has avoided being sent to prison due to his mental health issues.

At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Simon Blakebrough, prosecuting, said that at around 8am on Saturday, April 25 last year, a man living on Brooklands Road in Prestwich, was woken up after hearing a noise downstairs and discovered a man standing in his back garden.

The offender, who was wearing a balaclava and holding a hammer, jumped over a fence, with the householder later finding that his back door had been forced open causing £1,200 of damage.

CCTV had captured the incident and police officers set off to find the burglar and about half a mile away on Danesway they spotted the defendant leaving a convenience store.

He ran off when they approached but was quickly detained following a chase.

Ali Al-Enezay was found to be carrying three snap bags of cannabis and investigations found he had tried to use a credit card in someone else's name to buy items in the convenience store.

Further CCTV footage from Brooklands Road showed Al-Enezay walking on to the front drive of another house, looking through windows and trying to open a front door.

Al-Enezay, who was 18 at the time of his latest offending, had two previous convictions for robbery and possession of a bladed article.

Stuart Duke, defending, said Al-Enezay, who pleaded guilty to two attempted burglaries, fraud and possession of cannabis, had spent time as an in patient at a psychiatric unit following the offences.

"The offences demonstrate he could not have been thinking properly," said Mr Duke. "This was not Oceans 11 type sophistication. He tried to force a door at 8am on a Saturday morning when householders are almost guaranteed to be in the house.

"He was clearly very ill at the time of these offences and hasn't helped himself by self-medicating with cannabis."

Mr Duke added that Ali Al-Enezay, of Mosslee Avenue, Prestwich, would be a "fish out of water" and "very vulnerable" if he was imprisoned at HMP Forest Bank.

Handing the teenager an 18 month community order with 30 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement to complete and 180 hours of unpaid work, His Honour Judge John Edwards, said: "You have come within a whisker of going into custody.

"You must have posed a terrifying sight standing there on a Saturday morning with a claw hammer and the only reason I'm not sending you down is because you have a number of problems and I think the public will be better protected by you being under the auspices of a community order rather than sending you to orison for a few months."

Ali Al-Enezay, 19,