Suspended sentence for Plymouth man who stole a car to start a new life in North Devon.

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A PLYMOUTH criminal who stole a car to drive to North Devon to start a new life has been given a ‘last chance’ to stay on the right side of the law.

Lee Bassett gained notoriety last month after dangling off a city centre footbridge for a bet – and having to be rescued by emergency services at a cost of nearly £5,000.

In separate incident in July last year, he had to be freed from mud after taking a boat without consent in a failed attempt to cross floodwater.

On April 7, the 30-year-old, who was already banned from driving and had no insurance, took a Renault Clio without consent and headed for Northam.

Police caught up with him the following day in Bideford after he stopped to fill up with £20 worth of petrol before driving off without paying.

On Friday, North Devon Magistrate Robin Hagley told Bassett, of Clifton Place, he had no respect for the community order previously issued for the public nuisance and motorboat theft offences in Plymouth.

He said: “I’m looking for a good reason not to give you an immediate custodial sentence.

“Your record is a disgrace; I wonder whether you deserve any freedom at all. You’re 30 and look at the state of you.

“I’m giving you one chance. I’m not going to give you immediate custody but don’t be under any illusion it won’t happen if you offend again.”

Revoking the community order made in Plymouth, Mr Hagley handed Bassett 16 week suspended sentences for the theft of the car and driving while disqualified, to run concurrently.

He was given a six week concurrent suspended sentence for the theft of the petrol, as well as further concurrent 16 week suspended sentences for the previous public nuisance and motor boat theft offences.

Bassett, who admitted all charges, was given six points on his licence, and ordered to pay £20.25 compensation and an £80 victim surcharge.

“This could have gone either way,” added Mr Hagley. “At 30 you really need to get yourself sorted out.”

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