A SNEAK theft from a hotel staff room led to a police pursuit on country roads as the man responsible tried to make off in a flatbed van.

Karl Hogg took a mountain bike from the locker room at the Ramside Hall Hotel, at Carrville, near Durham, at 10pm on October 30.

Durham Crown Court heard that when a member of staff tried to pursue Hogg he turned and threatened him with a pair of bolt croppers he was carrying.

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Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said police were summoned and a patrol vehicle came across a flatbed van in nearby Low Pittington.

The officers activated the siren and blue lights, but, despite slowing to a halt, the van twice reversed into the front of the police car, before driving away.

It was only when it appeared to break down that three occupants got out and ran into woodland, off High Row, Woodstone Village, near Fencehouses.

Hogg, who was hiding next to a wall, was the only one of the trio arrested and told police he was merely “having some fun”.

Despite smelling of intoxicants he refused to provide a breath test.

Hogg, 24, of Edward Street, Gilesgate, Durham, admitted burglary, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, without insurance and failing to provide a breath specimen.

Christopher Rose, mitigating, said Hogg is relatively lightly convicted and was “extremely remorseful” for his actions that night.

Recorder Simon Brown QC imposed a 36-week sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered Hogg to perform 150 hours’ unpaid work.

Hogg was also banned from driving for a year.