A car thief doctored the registration plate of a stolen BMW with black tape to evade detection before smashing the vehicle into a wall following a 125mph police chase.
Lee Paterson, 29, yesterday pleaded guilty to stealing a car, changing its registration plate with tape, and driving it dangerously at “grossly excessive speeds” without a licence or insurance earlier this year.
Paterson, a prisoner at HMP Grampian, had stolen the expensive motor from a property at Raeburn Place in Aberdeen between the evening of Monday, February 18, and the following morning.
The owner of the vehicle went out to move her car only to find it had been taken, and reported the theft to the police.
Later that afternoon, the grey car was spotted at a petrol station in Kyle of Lochalsh on the west coast – a four-hour and 180-mile drive away.
Depute fiscal, Ruaridh McAllister, told Aberdeen Sheriff Court that Paterson had used black tape to alter the registration plate so that a number three instead looked like a number eight.
A woman at the petrol station reported seeing the car leaving in the direction of Plockton, and hours later it was seen by police travelling south on the A90 Aberdeen to Peterhead road, close to the Toll of Birness.
A police vehicle was put in place near the A90 slip road at Balmedie to intercept Paterson, and officers switched their blue lights on in an attempt to get the 29-year-old to pull over and slow down.
Mr McAllister said: “The accused failed to stop, and was noted to be travelling at around 125mph.”
Other police vehicles joined the pursuit as the accused sped down the A90 towards Aberdeen.
The fiscal added: “One of the vehicles undertook the stolen car, and positioned themselves in front of it.
“The accused overtook him, mounting the central reservation before continuing towards the Murcar roundabout.”
The chase was stood down due to safety concerns, but Paterson was later traced after the car was found crashed into a wall on Sunnybank Road.
Defence solicitor Peter Shepherd said Paterson “apologised unreservedly for how he was driving that day”, and explained that he “takes full responsibility” for his actions and is keen to get his life “back on the straight and narrow.”
However, Sherriff Morag McLaughlin sentenced the thief to 28 months in jail, and banned him from driving for eight years.
She said: “You have an extremely bad record for offences like this.”