A thief who tried to outrun police by driving through West Buckland at high speed was arrested after crashing into a cottage.

Christon Bayliss was making his getaway after stealing £1,288 of copper cables from a BT depot in Barnstaple when his VW Golf was seen speeding by police.

They followed him and tried to stop him when a check showed he had no licence or insurance. He sped away and went the wrong way around a roundabout to try to throw them off.

The chase carried on at 65mph down country lanes when he turned off the A361 towards West Buckland and ended when he lost control in the village and crashed into a house.

He hit the building a second time as he reversed to try to prevent his car being boxed in by the police car, but only succeeded in hitting a chimney breast.

Bayliss's passenger Dan Smith, who had carried out the raid on the depot at Whiddon Valley with him, was injured in the accident when the 400 metres of copper cabling were catapulted forward by the impact.

He was screaming for help in the passenger seat as Bayliss tried to get out of the car and run away. He caused minor damage to the police car as he opened the driver's door but was arrested before he could get out.

Tests showed that Bayliss was four times over the limit for cannabis in his blood.

Bayliss, aged 25, of High Street, Barnstaple, admitted dangerous driving, drug driving, theft and having no licence or insurance.

Judge Robert Linford deferred his sentence for five months at Exeter Crown Court and told him he will not go straight to jail if he stays out of trouble and holds down a job.

He warned him he would be jailed for 14 months if he fails to meet either condition.

Smith, aged 24, of Barnstaple, was taken to hospital after the crash. He later admitted theft and was fined £150 by magistrates.

Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said a police car on the A361 started following Bayliss's VW Golf at 10.15pm on July 10 last year and tried to stop him for speeding and other traffic offences.

After the crash, he claimed they found they had been driving around 'looking for bits and bobs' and found the cable in a hedge. He claimed not to have seen the police car's blue flashing lights.

He apologised for upsetting the residents of the village and to his friend, who was injured in the crash.

Emily Pitts, defending, said Bayliss had split up with his partner shortly before the offence and was sleeping on a friend's floor. He has adult ADHD which he foolishly chose to treat with cannabis rather than prescribed medication.

He now has stable accommodation and the offer of starting a job immediately. He has shown remorse and wants to apologise to all concerned.

Bayliss is due to be sentenced when Judge Linford is sitting at Truro Crown Court on July 10.