A banned driver sparked a manhunt when he fled into a forest after being caught using his mobile phone behind the wheel.
Dog teams were brought in to chase down Cameron Milne after he abandoned his car on the north-east coast, near to Kinneff.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard police officers trawled the countryside for 45 minutes before tracing the 23-year-old hiding in trees.
His flight was described as a “moment of madness” by his solicitor, while an unimpressed sheriff said police officers had better things to be doing.
Milne – a banned driver – came to the attention of the police when he was spotted using his mobile phone while at the wheel of his Toyota Aygo on the A92 Dundee to Aberdeen road.
Depute Fiscal Anna Chisholm told the court: “The accused was disqualified from driving at a court in Forfar on October 16 for driving without insurance.
“On December 8, officers noticed him driving on the A92 while using his mobile phone.
“They pulled his vehicle over into a car park, then told him that he had been seen using his mobile phone.
“At that point, the accused ran off.”
The depute fiscal added: “A number of police officers, along with police dogs and handlers, were dispatched to the area to search for him.
“He was found in a forested area about 45 minutes later.”
The accused, of Hillview in Brechin, admitted charges of driving while using a mobile phone, failing to wear a seat belt, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
He also pled guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice “by running from police officers”.
Defence agent, Iain McGregor, said his client’s decision to flee “seemed to be a moment of madness”.
He added: “A level of inconvenience and expense went into finding him and he apologises for that.”
Sheriff Andrew Miller told him: “You ran off from police officers in the course of perfectly justified inquiries.
“You conducted yourself in such a manner that the time of those and other officers, which could have been better spent on other matters, had to be spent looking for you.”
He ordered the accused to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and banned him from driving for a year.