A 13-year-old boy has been deemed a danger to the public after stealing and crashing a taxi, robbing a pensioner and throwing a Molotov cocktail.

The youngster from Brighton stole the cab from Crossbush Road, Whitehawk, on September 9.

He then drove it without a licence or insurance before crashing in Pankhurst Avenue, Brighton.

When arrested he was found to be carrying a 14cm knife.

On September 25 he assaulted his own mother and committed criminal damage at their home.

Two days later he robbed an elderly woman of her handbag in Rottingdean, knocking her over.

On July 29 he was caught in possession of a knife with a 20cm blade and an imitation firearm, and tried to start a fire with a homemade Molotov cocktail.

Appearing in court yesterday, the boy pleaded guilty to all the offences and was told a further assessment would need to be made about the exact risk he poses to the public before he is sentenced.

Youth offending officers told the court he had been “assessed as posing a high risk of serious harm”.

The boy’s social worker said: “The local authority do have significant concerns about him being at home in the community and the risk he poses to his mum and brother at home.”

She said a psychiatrist at the secure home where he is being detained believed he had autism but said he was awaiting formal diagnosis,

The boy has already been held on remand at a secure children’s home for the past 28 days but was yesterday returned to custody as a judge considered he was too dangerous to be allowed home until he is sentenced next month.

Begging to be granted bail at Brighton Youth Court yesterday, the boy wept as he said: “If a chance was to be given to me, I will try everything possible to change my behaviour.

“I have been able to learn from my mistakes.”

However District Judge Tessa Szagun ruled he was too high a risk to be released on bail.

She said: “The difficulty I have is that I am told you are easily influenced by other people and not always the right people.

“Police, social services, you own mum and youth offending have all tried really hard to help you change but you went on to commit ever more serious offences in ways that exposed other people to risk of really serious harm.

“Stealing a taxi and driving it really dangerously you could have run people over, you could have crashed and killed yourself. You robbed an elderly person. When they fell over theys could have died or been seriously injured.

“You have been out with a knife on more than one occasion and armed with an imitation firearm.

“You put together a Molotov cocktail and threw it, which fortunately didn’t work. What’s really sad is that I’m hearing you are really intelligent.

“In light of the really serious offences that you have admitted to I’m left with a situation where I’m satisfied that the only way to protect the public from serious injury or other imprisonable offences from you is to keep you remanded in custody.”

He will be sentenced on October 30.