A NEWPORT teenager helped steal a £44,000 car before torching it when his friend crashed it into a wall, a court heard.
Sam O’Hare (16) was given 180 hours’ unpaid work for the late-night joyride when he appeared for sentencing at Cupar Sheriff Court on Thursday (May 3, 2012).
Depute procurator fiscal Joanne Smith told the court that the brand new Volkswagen Touareg belonged to a family friend of O’Hare’s co-accused, Stephan Mill (17), who was sentenced for his part in the incident in March.
The family friend, an after-sales manager at a car dealership in Kirkcaldy, had been given the 4x4 as a company vehicle.
The court heard that he had gone on holiday last October and had left his house keys in the care of Mill and his mother, who were to dog-sit while he was away.
Ms Smith said: “On October 9 at about 2am, a witness was driving along the promenade in Tayport.
“He noticed a car on fire with accident damage to the front end.”
The fire brigade and police were called, and officers found a big pile of burnt pine needles in the car.
When traced and questioned about his involvement, O’Hare told police: “We came back from St Andrews, went in the car for a cruise, crashed it and set it on fire.”
Defence solicitor Gemma Dick said O’Hare was ashamed of his actions, which were out of character.
She added that he had a place waiting for him in the Marines.
Sentencing, Sheriff Charles Macnair told O’Hare: “You were with your co-accused, who had been entrusted with the property of the complainer.
“While I accept there was not the same level of breach of trust in your case, nevertheless you went with him and you were guilty with him of stealing the car and then causing very significant damage to the car.
“It is your age and lack of record which keeps you out of custody today.”
O’Hare, of Maryton, pleaded guilty to stealing and setting fire to the car, while Mill, of Victoria Street, Newport, previously admitted the same charges.
Paper boy Mill, who was behind the wheel, also admitted driving without a licence or insurance.
In March he was given 200 hours’ unpaid work, banned from driving for two years and ordered to pay £2750 compensation.