AFTER a teenager was found guilty of a Wrexham stabbing a judge said he was concerned to hear that it was “commonplace” for youngsters to use knives to defend themselves in the town.

The 16-year-old boy was warned he faces a custodial sentence in a Young Offenders’ Institution after he was convicted of unlawful wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He stabbed a school pal in the stomach after a scuffle broke out when he tried to seize a drugs stash of cannabis worth £60 off him.

His victim, who was also 16 at the time, suffered a collapsed lung and spent two days in hospital after the attack on Smithy Lane in Wrexham.

Judge Rhys Rowlands told the defendant that it would have been unlikely that he would have been before him had he not developed a long-term cannabis habit through his school days.

“There is something profoundly depressing that a 12-year-old starts smoking cannabis and has been smoking for three or four years,” noted the judge.

“I have no doubt that had he not got into the habit he would be nowhere near this court. The apologists of cannabis need to take into account the reality.

“And that is it was described that it is now commonplace for youngsters in Wrexham to be afraid and to go around armed with knives.”

The teenager, who is from Wrexham, had denied the stabbing charge on November 1 last year, but admitted an alternative charge of unlawful wounding as well as robbery and possession of a knife.

He will be sentenced with an accomplice and pre-sentence reports were ordered, but he was told by the judge that “immediate custody was inevitable”.

Prosecuting barrister Jade Tufail told Mold Crown Court the two teenagers, who had known each other for a year, came to loggerheads after the defendant tried to source some cannabis for him and his pals.

He told the group he would “rob it off” his victim, who he arranged to meet by a local shop on Smithy Lane.

When the other boy arrived on his moped a fight broke out and his victim armed himself with a knuckle duster.

The defendant took out a knife with a silver handle and told his victim “I am keeping this”, referring to the cannabis.

He was warned by his victim he may go to prison for using a knife, but said he didn’t care.

When his victim grabbed the blade and broke it with a twisting motion, he took hold of another kitchen knife with a black handle that he was handed by a friend.

The boy could feel the second knife hitting him as the defendant wielded it with “slashing and stabbing motions”. He described the defendant’s actions as “now he was proper throwing it about”.

The defendant told him: “I’ll kill you if you don’t give us (the cannabis) that”.

Eventually a neighbour came out of his house and broke up the fight. He took the injured teenager, who had begun to feel dizzy, into his home and stemmed his bleeding with a tea towel while putting him in the recovery position.

The knife had penetrated two layers of his clothing and the boy suffered four separate wounds, including a deep stomach wound which a CT scan showed caused a puncture in his left lung. He also had other lacerations to his arm and back.

The defendant gave two no comment interviews to police, but at court in his defence said he had no intention to use the knife as a weapon, but to get the other boy to back off him.

Defence barrister Benjamin Knight told the court the teenager had no intention to cause serious harm.

“His intention was to intimidate the other boy to hand over the cannabis. When he struck out with the knuckleduster he (the defendant) reacted on the spot,” said the barrister.

The teenager’s accomplice has already admitted possession of a knife and robbery at a separate hearing.

Sentencing was adjourned until October 23.