A CARAVAN thief who drove at double the speed limit in a vain attempt to escape from police has been spared an immediate return to jail.

Miley James Connors, 23, of Tara Park, Malton, leapt from the car he was driving after making a hand brake stop and made for a house whose occupants tried unsuccessfully to prevent his arrest, Patricia Doherty, prosecuting, told York Crown Court last Thursday.

But police chased after him and arrested him.

He had no licence and no insurance for his journey and the car he was driving had false number plates.

His solicitor advocate Keith Waterhouse said since then, Connors had served nine months for caravan theft and handling a stolen caravan in Warwickshire, his first time behind bars, and had been released from jail four weeks before he appeared at York Crown Court.

He was now determined to live a settled life with his wife and family away from the “more sophisticated associates” who had led him into crime.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said Connors knew he shouldn’t have been driving at all that night.

Suspending a six-month prison sentence for 18 months with conditions, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said he was willing to take the risk to see if Connors could lead a law-abiding life.

The conditions included Connors doing 100 hours’ unpaid work and ten days’ rehabilitative activities.

He also banned Connors from driving for two years and ordered him to take an extended driving test.

Connors pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

York Crown Court heard that Connors went through a red light and drove at twice the speed limit during the chase through Malton on July 2 along Appletree Way, Orchard Road, Maiden Greve, Hospital Road, Middlecave Road, Mount Crescent, Pasture Lane and Outgang Road.

The judge said the Warwickshire offences also involved false number plates.

Mr Waterhouse said Connors had gone through a difficult 18 months as he struggled to cope with the death of his brother in “tragic circumstances”.