A 19 YEAR old provisional driver from Bentham took a car without its owner's consent and drove it into a house, causing thousands of pounds of damage, heard Skipton Magistrates Court.

Ben Scott, who had also been drinking cider and who was with a youth at the time, had tried several parked cars before finding an unlocked one, the court was told on Friday.

After smashing into the wall and porch of the house, in High Street, Burton-in-Lonsdale in the early hours of December 11, Scott and the youth, who cannot be named, ran off, but were arrested after the occupants of the house were alerted by the noise.

Scott admitted to police being the driver and finding the car, a Seat Leon, unlocked and with its keys left in the driver's door side pocket.

Damage, put at around £5,000, but possibly more, included extensive damage to a porch and boundary wall of one property and of the neighbouring house, the court was told.

Scott, of previous good character, made full admissions to police, saying he had been 'tipsy' after drinking cider.

At court on Friday, he admitted aggravated vehicle taking, and causing property damage of up to £5,000. He also admitted drink driving, with 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit is 35; driving otherwise in accordance with a licence, and without insurance.

In mitigation, Mohammed Hussain said Scott had cared for his mother, who suffered from acute arthritis and other health problems, almost all his life. Following the death of his grandmother, he was now his mother's sole carer, and he was struggling to cope, said Mr Hussain.

The court also heard he was drinking up to eight pints a day as a coping mechanism, had a part time job, and although he had taken some driving lessons, he had not passed a test.

It was out of character for him, and he was full of remorse.

Scott, of Main Street, Low Bentham, was handed a 12 month community order with a 12 week weekend curfew, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 7pm to 7am. He will also have to complete up to 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and pay compensation of £250. He has also been banned from driving for a total of 22 months.