A Dundee thief took a workman’s white van when he found himself stranded, penniless and miles from home.
Andrew Mitchell found the Renault Kangoo parked outside a house in Invergowrie and noticed its keys had been left in the ignition.
Having been let down by a friend who promised to give him a lift home, the 29-year-old jumped inside and motored back to Dundee.
Mitchell, who is serving a 29-month sentence for attacking his girlfriend, was given extra time in prison when he appeared at Perth Sheriff Court.
He admitted taking the van without the owner’s consent on July 23, 2019.
Mitchell, of Cleghorn Street, Dundee, also pled guilty to charges of driving without a licence or insurance.
He further admitted failing to comply with a breath test at Dundee police station.
‘He saw his own van driving towards him’
Fiscal depute Andrew Harding said the van’s owner David Pugh parked at Waterside/ Inverbay, Invergowrie and was working in a garden there.
He noticed the van had gone about two hours later.
Mr Pugh contacted police, before mounting his own search for the van using another vehicle.
“At about 4.50pm, he saw his van driving towards him,” Mr Harding said.
“He began to follow it, but lost sight of it.
“Later, the van was located by Mr Pugh’s son at a car park in Dee Gardens in Dundee.
“Police were updated and Mr Pugh went to the area.
“He removed the contents, including tools, from the van while he waited for police to arrive.
“Officers did not attend for some time.
“Mr Pugh and his son kept an eye on the vehicle and after a while, they saw the accused and an unknown female get into the van and drive off.”
Mitchell was traced by police just after midnight and taken into custody at Dundee.
Solicitor Billy Somerville told the court: “Mr Mitchell went to Invergowrie to visit a friend.
“There was an arrangement for him to be picked up and taken back to Dundee.
“However, that fell through for some reason and he found himself stranded with no money.
“Foolishly, he saw this vehicle, the keys were in it and he decided to drive it back to Dundee.”
Sheriff Linda Smith sentenced Mitchell to another 136 days in prison.
He was banned form the road for one year, with 10 penalty points added to his licence.
In March, Mitchell was jailed for thumping his then-girlfriend when she answered a call from her ex-partner.
He later spat in the face of a police officer.
His solicitor at the time said he had a “Jekyll and Hyde” character when he takes alcohol.