Driving lesson

Blyth teenager’s 17th birthday driving lesson ruined by burglar who stole family car

A burglar ruined a teenager’s birthday present of a driving lesson on the day he turned 17 by stealing his family’s car.

Adam McLaughlin smashed a porch window at the victims’ home and stole the keys to a £17,000 Ford Fiesta in the early hours of February 14, 2019.

Newcastle Crown Court heard a teenager, who lived in the three-bedroom semi-flat in Blyth, Northumberland, with his mother and father, whose wedding anniversary was the following day, turned 17 two days later.

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His parents had prepared a provisional permit for him so that he could have his first lesson on his birthday, which had to be cancelled.

Her mother was so scared after the raid that her husband had to change jobs, at a loss of £15,000 a year, so he could be home with her at night.

McLaughlin, 30, of River View, North Shields, who has a criminal record, admitted to burglary, theft and failing to attend a prior hearing.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced him to 44 months behind bars.

Judge Rippon said all burglary victims felt “sickness, fear, panic” when their home was attacked, but said the family’s trauma may have gone “beyond that”.

The judge told McLaughlin: “It was their birthday and his son’s birthday the next day.

“He would have a provisional license ready so he could start driving as part of his birthday present.

“They planned to take him in the car that you stole from that car.

“They couldn’t do that because you took the car and it was all cancelled.”

The court heard that the family had to pay extra money for security at their home and that their insurance premiums had increased due to the break-in.

Jonathan Cousins, defending, said McLaughlin was “extremely remorseful” and there was limited trespassing on the property so only the car keys could be taken.

Mr Cousins ​​said McLaughlin had a partner and a child and worked as a fender cleaner while on remand.

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