A HASELBURY Plucknett teenager who joined a group of mates for a joyride in a stolen car was told by magistrates that it was about time he grew up.

Connor Peter Marlow claimed he had not known at the outset that the vehicle had been stolen when a friend arrived at his address asking him to get in.

However he admitted that as the journey progressed he did become aware that the driver had taken the car.

When he appeared in the dock before Somerset Magistrates, they sentenced him to a 12 month community order with 40 hours unpaid work and ordered him to pay an £85 victim surcharge.

Amanda Campbell, chair of the bench, said: “It’s about time you grew up and took some responsibility for your actions and stopped being so stupid with cars.”

Marlow, 18, of New Close, pleaded guilty to allowing himself to be carried in a Kia Sportage, knowing it had been stolen, at over Stratton on October 29 last year.

Emma Lenanton, prosecuting, said that the stolen vehicle belonged to a family which had been left parked outside their address and had accidentally been left unlocked.

“The vehicle was taken in the early hours of the morning on October 29 when it was driven by various people while this defendant was a passenger,” she said.”

She said that blood found inside the car led police to arrest the driver, and when he was interviewed he told them about the other people who had been with him at the time.

“Marlow was found by the police and interviewed on January 14 this year and he accepted he was a passenger,” she said.

“He said he did not know it was stolen at the start, but then became aware while in the vehicle that it had been taken.”

Defending solicitor Jeffrey Bannister said that when the driver pulled up in the car Marlow assumed the vehicle belonged to him as he had said he was going to buy a new car.

“The defendant then got in the car and went out for a drive in the early hours of the morning, but during the journey he was told it had been stolen, and he allowed himself to be carried in it.” he said.

Mr Bannister said that Marlow had previous convictions for similar offences and had been sentenced to a community order at the crown court the previous week and banned from driving for 12 months. His friend, the driver, had been sent to prison for 18 months.

“This has been a salutary lesson for my client as he easily could have gone to prison too, and as a result has had a short, sharp shock,” he added.