THE inquest into a teenager who died after crashing a stolen quad bike has begun.

Dillon Turner suffered multiple injuries following a police pursuit in Ingleton, in Teesdale, on June 14, 2016.

Sitting at Crook Coroner's Court yesterday, assistant coroner, Oliver Longstaff, heard how the 19-year-old was one of three people seen in the Stang Forest, near Barnard Castle, that afternoon.

The Northern Echo:

Hours earlier, the police had come across the quad bike which had been reported stolen at 10am that morning, from a farm in Keld, in Richmondshire.

Having discovered the vehicle, officers from North Yorkshire Police decided to wait and see if the burglars would come back to claim the vehicle which had been hidden within the forest.

Giving evidence, Sergeant Stuart Grainger, said he was one of four officers lying in wait in the rural location to catch the thieves in the act.

One officer was positioned in a police van two miles away while Sgt Grainger was with another officer in an unmarked van at a house four miles away and another officer was standing by in the forest itself.

Sgt Grainger said the officer in the forest notified his colleagues when the the trio had recovered the bike so that they could intercept them on the way out of it.

However, despite test calls to both control and between themselves before the incident, the radio message was delayed, meaning Mr Turner was able to make it on to the road before he could be intercepted.

The other two people - a man and a woman - were arrested in the forest.

Sgt Grainger said Mr Turner, of Coundon, near Bishop Auckland, seemed unaware he was being followed by the police and the police helicopter and rode the quad bike "casually" over the A66 before heading into Teesdale.

The officers kept their distance and followed the quad bike before being notified that there was an officer setting up a stinger further ahead at Winston Bridge.

The court then heard how Mr Turner kept riding behind a slow-moving Corsa despite several opportunities to overtake it.

Sgt Grainger said the teenager would have had several opportunities to turn into open gates and ride cross country, but he did not, which came as a surprise to the officers.

But when faced with the sight of the police car and stinger, the Corsa stopped in the road and Mr Turner rode up the side of a steep bank to divert the stinger and overtake the Corsa while the police were blocked behind the other cars.

Sgt Grainger said Mr Turner was not being pursued up to that point as the police helicopter was monitoring the situation.

Durham Constabulary were also aware of the ongoing incident.

But Richard Copnall, who represented Mr Turner's family, asked why the police had not taken a different decision to either recover the quad bike when it was found or disable it in some way to prevent Mr Turner riding it in the first place.

Sgt Grainger said if officers had simply recovered the vehicle, the chances of catching the thieves using forensic evidence from stolen vehicle would have been slim.

He also decided against tampering with the vehicle - such as removing the battery or deflating the tyres - in case an accident was caused as a result or the thieves were able to escape into the forest before the officers could apprehend them.

"We were quite happy we had sufficient time to react to it before it got to the road," Sgt Grainger said.

Sgt Grainger said the team had discussed all options and were happy with the plan beforehand which they were confident would have worked if it had not been for the radio failure.

When asked if they were all wrong with the benefit of hindsight, he agreed.

The inquest resumes today at Crook Coroner's Court, at 10am.