AN UNCLE who took his nephew's car without permission ran off after crashing head on into another vehicle.

Blackburn magistrates heard the driver of the other car was terrified when she was momentarily trapped in her car by her airbag and she could smell smoke.

Ian Michael Wyld, 38, of Halifax Road, Brierfield, pleaded guilty to unauthorised vehicle taking aggravated by damage caused to two vehicles, driving without a licence or insurance and failing to stop after a road traffic collision. He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Sarah Lunt was driving home to Clitheroe when she saw a car travelling at high speed coming towards her on Carr Road, Nelson.

The other vehicle hit her with sufficient force to activate her airbag.

"She couldn't get out of the car straight away and was terrified because it was filling with smoke," said Miss Allan.

"When she did get out she saw the other car further down the road surrounded by a number of people.

"The occupants of the other car had all got out and run off."

John Rusius, defending, said the keys to the car were readily available and his client didn't think there would be any issue with him borrowing it.

He said a day later a police officer arriving for work found Wyld sitting on the police station steps waiting to hand himself in.

"The officer couldn't find anything on the system and it was only because my client was insistent that he checked again and found the relevant report," said Mr Rusius.

"The day prior to the incident he and his wife had separated and he was feeling low."