Car thief found hiding under bed

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A WIGAN man has been jailed after he stole a car for “a trip to the shops” and was later caught by police hiding under a bed.

Michael Wilde, 27, pinched a red Vauxhall Nova while on licence from a previous prison term and drove it along Haweswater Avenue in Ince – despite still being a disqualified driver.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how one witness could clearly identify the defendant as the only person inside the vehicle during the incident, which took place on January 20.

Ms Katie McFarlane, prosecuting, told how Wilde revved the engine of the vehicle before racing up and down the street at high speed and then spinning the car around.

When police were called to the scene, Wilde disappeared inside a nearby property before forcing the front door shut and disappearing out the back.

A police officer eventually found the defendant hiding face down underneath a bed.

In interview, Wilde claimed that he had just set out on “a trip to the shops” when he spotted the Vauxhall Nova’s ignition had been damaged.

As it was cold, Wilde said he took the vehicle and drove it to the shops before driving it back.

He admitted that he panicked when police arrived at the scene because he knew he was going to get arrested.

The court also heard that Wilde, of Clevedon Drive, Highfield, was still subject to an eight-year driving disqualification imposed in November 2004.

Mr Rob Haygarth, defending Wilde, admitted that, because of his client’s record, there was an “unfortunate air of inevitability” about how he would be dealt with.

However, he argued that his client had spoken quite candidly about the offence to police before pleading guilty to taking a motor vehicle without consent, driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance at the first opportunity.

Mr Haygarth also told how the vehicle had been returned damage-free and described the offence as “an aberration” on his client’s part. Magistrates sentenced Wilde to 18 weeks behind bars and disqualified him from driving for a further three years.