A MAN who took a car belonging to his mother’s friend, while apparently under the influence of drink and drugs, escaped an immediate prison sentence yesterday (Thursday January 23).

But, Durham Crown Court heard Anthony Dixon has spent six weeks behind bars since his arrest following the incident, on December 12.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said Dixon took the keys to a Peugeot car belonging to a friend of his mother, after turning up at her home in Delves Lane, Consett, asking her for a glass of water and a cigarette.

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Mr Faulks said the victim believed he was “worse the wear” for either drink, drugs, or both, and expressed concern for him, unaware he was about to take her car, which was parked at the rear of the property in Woodside Drive.

The car was found abandoned in the vicinity later but Dixon was arrested within a short time and due to his condition was taken to hospital, from where he tried to escape while visiting the toilet.

Mr Faulks said Dixon damaged the toilet and cubicle in the unsuccessful escape bid and then struggled with officers when he was “re-captured” by police.

Dixon, 24, of Metcalfe Road, Consett, admitted burglary, theft, criminal damage and resisting arrest.

Lewis Kerr, mitigating, said during his six weeks in custody Dixon has had chance to “dry out” and is now “motivated” to address his drug and alcohol issues.

Recorder Ben Nolan told Dixon: “You were clearly off your head with drink and drugs, which, together with your criminal history, means these offences merit a custodial sentence.

“But, as you have been inside for six weeks I can suspend the sentence.”

Recorder Nolan passed a 13-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, during which Dixon will be subject to a three-month electronically-tagged 7pm - 7am home curfew.