A 12-year-old boy has denied carrying out a 10-month burglary spree at prestigious hotels in London and the BBC Television Centre complex, a court heard.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is charged with 14 counts of burglary. His 13-year-old brother, who also cannot be named, is accused of being involved in three of the burglaries between April 2021 and February 2022.
The pair pleaded not guilty to all charges at Westminster magistrates court in south London on Thursday.
The boys are accused of carrying out burglaries at locations including Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair, the Four Seasons in Park Lane, the Corinthia hotel in Whitehall and the BBC Television Centre complex in White City, including at the offices of retailer the White Company.
Due to their age, the siblings from west London were joined in the dock by their mother.
The 12-year-old is also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit burglary during the alleged spree.
His brother is charged with three counts of burglary between September 2021 and February 2022 and one count of conspiring to commit burglary between April 2021 and February this year.
An adult co-defendant, Shane McCarthy, 19, faces 11 charges: nine counts of burglary, one of theft and one of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 2021 and February this year. He also denies all charges.
His case was sent to Isleworth crown court where he is due to appear on 14 April.
Alan Elias, the magistrate, released him on unconditional bail until then.
Elias said: “Before that date, you really, really, really need to stay out of trouble, do you understand?” he asked McCarthy, who nodded.
Jonathan Bryan, prosecuting, argued that the boys’ cases should not be sent to the crown court alongside McCarthy’s because of “the disparity in their age” and their “limited” criminal record.
Adel Buckingham, defending, welcomed the prosecution’s submission to separate the cases.
She said the young brothers both have special needs and “their age and lack of maturity are both important factors to consider”.
Elias said: “Having listened to both parties, we are convinced that in the interest of justice this should be separated and there should be a trial in youth court.”
The boys were released on bail until 28 March when they will appear at Highbury Corner youth court.