A schoolboy took a car during his lunch break after sneaking into the owner’s house to steal the keys.
Magistrates heard Keiron McGow, 18, targeted his victim while his back was turned as he unloaded his Nissan Primera and that he took the car with the intention of returning it later - but crashed into another vehicle before he could do so.
Three people in the car he hit were injured, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard, and McGow ran off.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said: “The owner of the car left the keys just inside his front door while he unloaded it. He finished doing that but, when he went to use the car a short time later, he couldn’t find the keys, and the car was gone. This was at about 1pm.”
He added: “When McGow returned to school after the lunch break it was noticed he was limping and had a cut to the head.”
The court heard police had been called to a head-on smash nearby in which the driver had left the scene.
Mr Anderson said: “The accident was in Springwell Road, Jarrow. McGow had rounded a bend, possibly hitting the kerb before colliding with an oncoming car. The driver in that car suffered a hand injury which needed a cast. Other passengers in the car suffered cuts and bruises.
“McGow admitted what he had done and told police he had taken the car to school and was on the way to return it to its owner when the crash happened.”
McGow, of Etal Crescent, Jarrow, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, burglary, failing to stop after a road accident, failing to report an accident, using a vehicle without insurance, and driving otherwise in an accordance with a licence, all on July 1.
Valerie Bell, defending, said: “This offence was in July, but Northumbria Police did next to nothing about it until October 24 - his 18th birthday. I may be being cynical, but had the police dealt with this more expeditiously Mr McGow could have been dealt with in the Youth Court.
“Mr McGow has attention deficit disorder and attends a special school. He intends to gain qualifications in catering.”
McGow was given a 12-month community order, including a curfew of three months, and 25 days of rehabilitation activity.
He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months, ordered to pay £450 compensation to the victims of the road accident and £40 costs.