A teen boy was told his conditional discharge for riding in a stolen car was “a bit of a let off” by a judge.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named as he is under 18, admitted being carried in a Nissan Almera taken without consent in February by the vehicle owner’s son.

He was one of four young men spotted pushing the car off boy’s driveway by a neighbour on February 20. They’d struggled to start the car and were found less than a mile away by police.

The son of the car’s owner was given a four-month youth referral order last week after he admitted taking a vehicle without consent.

Yesterday, his friend was handed a six-month conditional discharge by district judge Joanna Dickens after she heard he was making good progress on an existing court order and had spent time in the cells at Gablecross police station.

She admitted: “Really, this is a bit of a let off, because you’ve got other cases, you’ve got the referral order.”

She warned about the dangers of untrained young drivers getting behind the wheel. “Cars are very dangerous for young people if they don’t know how to drive them.”

The judge added: “It might sound like fun, but it won’t be fun if you are paralysed forever or if someone dies.”

The boy was represented by Emma Hillier.