A 16-YEAR-OLD caught driving a van said he took to the wheel because he was the better driver of his friends.

The teenager from Widnes, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was detained for four months after admitting taking the van, driving without a licence and insurance along with failing to comply with a rehabilitation order.

Halton Magistrates Court heard on Thursday how the victim, Christopher McCormack, noticed the van had been taken from outside his Great Sankey home in Warrington.

Richard Sealy, prosecuting, said: “At 8am he noticed the van had been taken and wondered if he left the keys in the front door.

“He had seen two males near the vehicle between 11.30pm and 12.30am.
“The defendant said he found the keys in the van and decided to drive him and his friends around in it.”

The youngster had previous convictions including actual bodily harm and criminal damage and a list of none compliance with court orders.

Magistrates heard how youth offending teams had at times struggled to work with the teenager, who on previous occasions had refused to come downstairs from his bedroom when being fitted with a tag and failing to attend appointments.

But since his plea for the latest offence had turned up to three out of four sessions with the youth offending team.

Peter Green, defending, said: “It’s a sad and difficult case. He’s a young man who has had plenty of difficulties in his life.

“He was taken into care when he was four and has had more than 50 care placements since then.

“It’s probably little wonder he’s managed to get himself into trouble. He is a vulnerable young man who is affected by his peers.”

But magistrates handed him the sentence for persistent breaches and ordered six points go on his licence when eligible for one.