THREE youths were in a car, taken after an “opportunistic” burglary, which went on to be involved in a pursuit with police 60 miles from the scene of the original crime.

Durham Crown Court heard that the owner of the Nissan Qashqai had just loaded the vehicle with goods to sell at a car boot sale, in the early hours of Sunday September 14.

She went back into the house, in Willington, County Durham, for a shower before planning to set off for the sale, when 19-year-old Kieran Jack Barnes took his chance and wandered into the unlocked premises, taking the car keys from the kitchen.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said the car was reported to have been taken, and it was picked up by police travelling southwards into North Yorkshire.

Mr Faulks said a patrol car reached speeds of almost 130-miles per hour at one stage trying to make up ground on the Nissan, which eventually left a road and ended up in a ditch near Wetherby.

Although all three of the suspected occupants fled, they were found and arrested in the vicinity.

One said they were going to pick someone up at the time, but other derisory comments were made to police.

Mr Faulks said the victim, a 63-year-old woman, who looks after a disabled foster son, was left “terrified” living in her own home.

Her impact statement was read in which she said the car was her sole means of transportation and she has been left feeling “immobilised”, seeking lifts from other people to enable her to go shopping and to the doctors, while her foster son now has to take a bus to go to work.

She was also said to be on edge at home now, fearing a repeat of the incident, while she has bought a bigger dog to give her more peace of mind.

Defence barristers for the trio said they admitted having been in the car, following the “opportunistic burglary”, but none was said to have been at the wheel during the pursuit.

Barnes, now 20, of Hall Lane Estate, and David Edward Auckland, 25, of Hutton Terrace, both Willington, and 19-year-old Hollis, of Front Street, Sunniside, near Tow Law, each admitted aggravated vehicle taking.

But Barnes also admitted burglary and taking part in an assault outside a Bishop Auckland pub, several weeks earlier.

He was sentenced to a total of 21 months in a young offenders’ institution.

Auckland was jailed for 12 months and both he and Barnes were banned from driving for two years.

Hollis, who has no previous offences, was given a 12-month community supervision order.

He will return to court to court to receive a driving ban, on Wednesday (March 18).