A teenager who stole his father’s snow leopard painting and sold it on eBay to buy cannabis has been warned by magistrates that he will go to prison if he doesn’t change his ways.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a 15-month supervision and referral order and a 16-week tag-enforced curfew between 8pm and 7am at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court.

Chairman of the bench Robert Girvan said: “It is absolutely critical that you stick to what we have decided and co-operate.

“It is a punishment, but on the youth rehabilitation team there are a lot of people who are trying to stop you turning into a habitual criminal. You have to work with them.”

The boy, who lives in Stevenage, also posted the painting on a Facebook selling page and sold it to an unsuspecting buyer for £130 the same day.

A short time later his father noticed the picture was missing and contacted the police who tracked down the buyer. They were unaware of the theft as the boy had advertised it as his own.

The painting was subsequently recovered, which left the buyer £130 out of pocket.

The boy pleaded guilty to that offence, to criminally damaging his father’s fence by headbutting it on August 11, and to stealing two bottles of Disaronno from the Asda store in Monkswood Way with another offender in May.

In a statement read out to the court, his father said: “I hope that he finally realises that he needs help and gets the help that he needs. I think a lot of things come from when me and his mother split. I do not think he had the capacity to understand what happened as he was 10 years old.”

The boy, whose 15-year-old girlfriend is pregnant with his first child, has previous convictions against his father and was already on a referral order.

Magistrates dismissed this and placed him on the new one which will also include £152 in fines, which he’ll pay back at £5 a week.