A father-of-five caught driving a stolen car worth £10,000 on cloned number plates has been spared an immediate jail sentence.
Wigan magistrates heard a police officer spotted the Mercedes C200 parked on Davies Street, Platt Bridge, on January 18.
He suspected it was stolen, made arrangements for it to be recovered and stayed in his liveried police car, parked nose to nose with the Mercedes, until the tow-truck came.
Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said that as he waited, Ibrahim Yusuf got into the Mercedes and started to drive away.
The police officer ran to the car, opened the passenger side door and shouted at him to stop. But Yusuf continued to drive and failed to stop for the officer, even when he activated his car’s emergency equipment.
The court heard the officer lost sight of the car, but drove around the area to look for it and found Yusuf standing next to the boot.
Yusuf jumped back in the car and reversed it, trying to get away, but his route was blocked by the police and he was detained.
Ms Kenyon said inquiries showed the car was stolen and had cloned registration plates.
The vehicle belonged to William Monteith, who had left it locked on Land Street, Wigan, on December 31, but discovered it had gone when he returned later that day.
Ms Keynon said Yusuf, 37, of Sherwood Court, Platt Bridge, gave no comment when interviewed by police.
He pleaded not guilty to stealing the car and failing to stop for a police officer but was found guilty in his absence when he did not attend the trial.
He was later charged with failing to surrender to the court for the trial.
His solicitor told the court his 15-year-old daughter was in hospital, but he had phoned the court that day and had attended three times since to try to resolve matters.
However Yusuf, who has his own business, was arrested on a warrant last Tuesday and pleaded guilty to the offence.
Magistrates were told Yusuf had previous convictions, which had included the attempted theft of a car in similar circumstances back in 2014 and a public order offence in 2017.
Yusuf was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
The bench said it was a matter of high-value dishonesty and the theft had caused a great deal of anxiety and inconvenience to Mr Monteith, but decided to suspend the sentence because of the impact immediate custody would have on his family and family businesses.
Yusuf was ordered to complete 100 hours’ unpaid work in the next 12 months, pay a £200 fine, £520 prosecution costs and £115 surcharge.