A young man found in the back of a stolen car following a police chase has been given a chance to turn his life around.

Joshua Love was already serving a suspended sentence for carrying out an attack while armed with a hockey stick and a machete.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 20-year-old’s criminal activities continued when he was arrested in June last year when police eventually caught up with the speeding Ford Fiesta following a 15-minute pursuit.

Rachel Butt, prosecuting, said the owner of the car had been left devastated by the amount of damage that had been caused to it after it was stolen from outside her home.

She said the car was spotted by police at around 1.30am on June 8 last year and sped off when they attempted to pull over the vehicle on Yarm Road in Stockton.

“It drove at speeds of 70mph in a 30mph zone,” she said. “They sped through multiple red lights, went the wrong way down a one-way road and the wrong way across a roundabout.”

Miss Butt said police called off the initial pursuit as they deemed it to be too dangerous but then spotted the car again and resumed the chase.

She added: “It drove at speeds of 70mph in residential areas, however, it came to a stop when it suffered damage and sparks were coming from the front of the vehicle.”

The three occupants of the car were arrested at the scene and the youth accused of being the driver will appear at Teesside Magistrates’ Court at a later date after denying being behind the wheel.

Love, of Colenzo Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking following his arrest.

Nicci Horton, mitigating, said her client deserved maximum credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity and urged the judge to spare him from immediate custody.

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Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe KC warned the young man to stay out of trouble after he appeared in court three times in a year.

He sentenced the 20-year-old to a 12-month community order and ordered him to continue with his drug rehabilitation requirement and attend 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

“You had a bad year last year, you committed three offences, to all of which you pleaded guilty,” he said.

“Having had to the terrible experience of coming to court and being sentenced three times in the last year you will have to stay out of trouble and not come before the court again.”

Love was fined £300 for breaching his suspended sentence.