A HAPLESS thief who tried to escape by climbing up a tree had to be rescued by police after he got stuck, a force has said.

Graham Irving, 27, was spotted stealing a generator in Armstrong Road, Newcastle, by hitching it to his vehicle and driving off.

Police were out looking for him and he failed to stop before he ditched his vehicle on the A1 Western Bypass.

Later, when officers saw him in the Heathfield Road area of Low Fell, Gateshead, he climbed a tree but became stuck.

Northumbria Police said the officers helped him down before putting him in the back of their van.

The force said Irving, of Friary Gardens, Felling, admitted theft, dangerous driving, failing to stop, no insurance and driving whilst disqualified when he appeared before magistrates in Newcastle on Monday.

Inspector Dave Carruthers of Northumbria Police, said: “Irving showed a total disregard for the law as he stole the generator and tried to make off but thankfully his deceit was spotted by a member of the public who was quick to contact police.

“Knowing that he was driving without a licence and whilst disqualified, Irving then decided to make one final desperate bid for freedom – first behind the wheel, and then making off on foot.

“But his attempts to hide from police up a tree back-fired as he became stuck, and our officers were more than happy to help him down, before putting him in the back of a police van.

“He now must deal with the serious consequences of his selfish actions when he is sentenced on a later date.”

Irving is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on June 22.