A CAR thief from Dudley put innocent people within “yards of death” during a high speed police chase.

Teenager Zohabe Akbar narrowly missed mowing down pedestrians during the chase when he was behind the wheel of a stolen car.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court Akbar was told despite his “appalling driving” he would not be going to jail.

Judge John Wait told Akbar: "There is no doubt you put lives at risk. Another three or four yards and you could have hit those people and killed them."

The Judge told the 18-year-old it was only down to good fortune that no-one had died during the pursuit that only ended when Akbar became stuck in heavy traffic.

Akbar, of Norman Street, admitted aggravated vehicle taking and he was sentenced to six months at a young offenders institution suspended for 18months.

He was further told by the judge he must obey a four month curfew order and also disqualified from driving for two years.

Howard Searle, prosecuting, said the teenager used a spare key to drive away a Volkswagen Golf car that had been sold by his family only a few days earlier.

The vehicle was reported stolen and it was spotted later that day by patrolling police officers who ordered Akbar to stop but he then swerved onto the pavement.

Mr Searle added Akbar was trying to avoid an oncoming police car and he narrowly missed hitting a pedestrian before the Golf crossed a corner where two more people were approaching on foot.

Blondelle Thompson, for Akbar, said the teenager took the car to go shopping with friends adding: "His parents are thoroughly ashamed of what he did. This has taught him a valuable lesson."