A PROLIFIC crook at the wheel of a £12,000 stolen car was rumbled after he drove straight up to a police car containing an officer who knew him well, a court heard.

Ex-cannabis addict Lee Scott, 23, had only three tyres on the Nissan Qashqai and was making a din and leaving marks in the road as he approached, mounted the kerb to drive around the police vehicle and carried on.

All the officer had to then do was follow the trail to where Scott had run the vehicle on to a grass verge, abandoned it and tried to hide.

The defendant then claimed he had been out for a walk, but was arrested.

Burnley Crown Court was told how Scott was in possession of the vehicle within 26 hours of it being stolen on a house road on Cleveland Road, in the town, while the victims were asleep in the early hours.

He was caught just streets away.

The defendant who has 65 offences on his record, going back to 2003, which include handling stolen goods and car theft, has been to prison several times and has been the subject of an anti-social behaviour order.

Scott, of Hargher Street, Burnley, is now behind bars again, this time for 24 weeks, after admitting handling stolen goods and using a vehicle without insurance.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker said the house was broken into between 12.15am and about 2.15am on July 3. The car keys were stolen.

Mr Parker said it was easy for police to follow the defendant because of the noise and the gouges the car was making in the Tarmac.

When he found Scott, the defendant asked the officer: “What do you want?

“I have just had an argument with my girlfriend and I have come for a walk.”

The defendant was arrested and exercised his right to silence.

He gave a prepared statement, denying he was responsible for the burglary.

Richard Taylor, defending Scott, said his last conviction was just short of two years ago.

The defendant, who had mental health issues, very much felt he had left his family down by the offence.

Passing sentence, Judge Ian Leeming, QC, said Scott was remorseful and had ‘done rather better in recent times’.