No joy for young crim

HIS joyride was short and not so sweet and now he's answering a string of charges in court.

The young Coffs Harbour man didn't count on quick-thinking residents and vigilant police when he allegedly stole a van in Brunswick Avenue early yesterday.

Police said a 52-year-old man awoke with a start at 4am when he heard his white Toyota Hi-Ace being reversed out of his driveway.

The man stumbled outside, confronted the youth behind the wheel and tried to pull the keys out of the ignition with no luck.

He watched helplessly as his vehicle was driven away but his mate gave chase and the alarm was raised with police.

Within 10 minutes the van was spotted in Camperdown Street at the Jetty and police activated their lights and sirens and pulled over the errant driver.

Police arrested the youth, 16, breath-tested him and took him to Coffs Harbour Police Station.

He was subsequently charged with car theft, driving without ever having held a licence, low-range drink-driving (.078) and breaching

bail.

He was remanded in custody to face Coffs Harbour Children's Court yesterday.

In other news, police are investigating the cause of a fire which destroyed a car at Sawtell.

Residents in a 1st Avenue apartment block rang 000 at 4.50am yesterday when a 1996 Suzuki Vitara was engulfed in flames in a rear parking bay.

If you saw suspicious activity in the area at the time, you are urged to contact Sawtell police on 6653 1205 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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