TWO drunken men involved in an ‘horrendous’ stolen car smash which could have led to ‘one or more deaths’ have both been locked up.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Martin Carroll, 29, and Andrew McManus, 24, had been in the Citroen Picasso when it mounted the kerb, almost hit two women and crashed into two cars on Rosegrove Lane, in the town, last July.

Carroll, who had taken the vehicle after asking its owner to get him a taxi, was found slumped in the passenger footwell and had to be taken to hospital, suffering from concussion. Neither he nor McManus had owned up to driving at time of the collision, which left a scene of devastation.

The hearing was told the vehicles were written off in the afternoon incident, one of them belonging to a woman who knew McManus.

Carroll, of Harold Avenue, Burnley, admitted aggravated vehicle taking and was jailed for one year. McManus, of Piccadilly Road, Burnley, pleaded guilty to allowing himself to be carried in a vehicle taken without consent. He was sent to prison for nine months and both defendants were banned for three years.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said the Picasso owner was washing the vehicle when Carroll asked him to phone him a taxi. He did and the defendant drove off in the car, clipping the gatepost.

He sped into the main road, on the wrong side, causing other vehicles to slam their brakes on. At some point McManus got in and it was driven to Rosegrove Lane, where two women were standing outside a chemist's shop as it careered round the corner.

Miss Statham said both had to leap out of the way to avoid being hit and the Citroen then smashed into a Mondeo and shunted that into a Clio. Carroll was taken from the vehicle and was taken to hospital. He had 52 previous convictions, whilst his co-defendant had 11 offences on his record.

Richard Taylor, for Carroll, said he expressed remorse. The taking of the car was opportunistic.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Newell said the two women narrowly missed being ‘wiped out’ by the vehicle. He said: "It could have led to one or more deaths. It was purely good fortune that that did not happen."