A REPEAT offender stole a Landrover Defender from Draughton and smashed it into a wall, causing £15,000 damage to the vehicle, heard Skipton magistrates.

Adam Virr, 29, was sentenced to a total of 24 weeks in prison - suspended for two years - after admitting aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

He had already admitted assaulting a police officer at Harrogate Police Station by punching him in the face after being arrested on June 10 last year, for which he received an eight week suspended sentence, to run at the same time.

He was also banned from driving for five years and will have to take an extended driving test before he can drive again.

The court heard on Tuesday that Virr, from Cleckheaton, took the £22,000 Landrover from outside its owner's house in Draughton after 'hot-wiring' the vehicle in the early hours of June 10. It had been fitted with a tracking device and shortly after hearing a car being driven past his house, the owner received a text message from the tracking company, said prosecutor, Charles Macrae.

Police in West and North Yorkshire were alerted and the Landrover was spotted by a firearms officer who followed it to Hebden Bridge, Calderdale.

Virr, who had been driving at between 40 to 50mph on a narrow road with a speed limit of 30mph, collided with one parked car before hitting a high wall in Lee Mill Road, Hebden Bridge.

He got out of the Landrover, ran off, and was found by police 150 metres away in a wooded area. Mr Macrae said Virr initially said he had been sleeping, but because he appeared to be sweating, officers arrested him. He then denied being the driver and only the passenger, but was carrying a tool with a flat bladed screwdriver, which police suspected had been used to hotwire the vehicle.

Virr was taken into custody, and while at Harrogate Police Station punched an officer in the face, leaving him with bruising, cracked teeth and in pain for three days.

Virr, already on a 16 month sentence, suspended for two years imposed by Bradford Crown Court for other matters, was told by magistrates he would be sent to prison if he committed another offence in the next two years.

His motoring offences had been aggravated by his manner of driving and that he had tried to avoid arrest, and his assault on the police officer had been a 'cowardly' act which had been unprovoked on someone doing his duty.

Virr, of Brooklyn Road, but shortly to be of High Street, Cleckheaton, was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to the owner of the Landrover, to cover his insurance excess, and £119.70 to the police officer.