A TEENAGE passenger in a stolen car towing a caravan in a police chase has been advised against mixing with the driver, in future.

Kieron Miller was a passenger in the Land Rover Freelander which was illegally taken in the Etherley Lane area of Bishop Auckland, on Tuesday April 27, last year.

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Sam Faulks, prosecuting, told Durham Crown Court that in the course of it being driven dangerously a Crusader caravan was stolen and towed away using the Freelander.

Mr Faulks said the main protagonist, the man at the wheel of the Freelander, 28-year-old Kyle Watson, failed to stop and a pursuit began with police.

“So, you have a Freelander with a caravan attached being chased on various roads round County Durham.”

Mr Faulks said the vehicle was seen swerving from side to side, with the caravan in tow.

“It came to an abrupt stop with the caravan wedged up against the side of the road.”

Mr Faulks said the occupants of the Freelander abandoned it at this point, near to the A688 Coundongate roundabout, and fled on foot.

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The trio involved were all subsequently arrested and when all three went before the court in September, 18-year-old Miller, of Douthwaite Road, Bishop Auckland, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, on the basis he was a passenger in the Freelander during the pursuit.

Following conclusion of the cases of his co-accused, Miller was back before the court to be sentenced.

His counsel, Robert Mochrie, told the court: “In essence we have an 18-year-old with no previous convictions against him.

“He pleaded guilty promptly and with his lack of previous convictions there’s a recommendation in his pre-sentence report of a community disposal.”

Judge James Adkin said: “He’s probably better advised to keep away from Mr Watson.”

Mr Mochrie replied: “Yes. He’s learned his lesson.”

Judge Adkin told Miller: “This involved you being a passenger in a venture by a more sophisticated criminal called Kyle Watson, who you would be better advised to avoid in future.

“The vehicle taken was seen swerving all over the road and crashed trying to get through a narrow alleyway.

“As you pleaded ‘guilty’ I’ll take a lenient course.”

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Judge Adkin imposed a 12-month community order, to include 100-hours’ unpaid work and ten-hours on a rehabilitation activity programme run by the Probation Service.

He told Miller: “So, if you do the work and comply with probation, you and I will never meet again.

“But, if you don’t, I may well take a less charitable attitude.”

Miller was also banned from driving for a year.

In linked cases, co-accused Watson, 28, of South Street, Spennymoor, received a 14-month prison sentence, to be followed by a 12-month driving disqualification, after admitting theft, handling stolen goods and dangerous driving.

A 17-year-old co-accused at the time admitted theft and handling stolen goods and was ordered to complete 120-hours’ unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order.

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