A TEENAGE babysitter who left two young boys at home alone to go on a midnight joyriding spree has escaped jail.

The 19-year-old Runcorn man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, drove off in a car parked outside, crashed into two vehicles and fled.

The alarm was raised by the children’s parents when they came home at 12.30pm on Sunday, March 16, this year, saw their car missing and found their sons abandoned.

The brothers, a 14-month-old baby and three-year-old boy, were discovered fast asleep upstairs.

The babysitter gave himself up at 4am.

Sentencing him at Runcorn Magistrates Court on Monday, District Judge Bridget Knight said: “It took some guts to face the music.

“I had considered custody but because you thought better of it and rang the police and stayed put, I have reconsidered the matter.

“You pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity. Thankfully, the children came to no harm.

“I want you to treat this heavy community sentence like a suspended sentence. If you breach this order it will be revoked and you will get a custodial sentence.”

The defendant admitted two charges of neglecting children, taking a car, driving without a licence and no insurance and failing to stop after two accidents.

He was ordered to complete a thinking skills programme under a supervision order for 12 months and complete 200 hours unpaid community work. His licence was endorced, he was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Alison Warburton, prosecuting, said the teenager had looked after the boys before at their Widnes home.

Their parents had gone out at 8pm leaving the children asleep in bed.

Police attended an accident at 2.20am and found the engine still running in the car he had taken.

Damage to a second car was discovered the following day.

Lucy O’Gara, defending, said: “He realises his decision was foolish and he shouldn’t have left the children alone.

“He did check that both children were asleep and put a baby gate at the top of the stairs. He decided to go out at midnight.

“He saw it as an opportunity to show off. It was an action of bravado. If he could turn back the clock he would do so.”