A 'naive young man’ from Riddlesden accepted an offer of a ride in a Land Rover despite suspecting it had been stolen, heard Skipton magistrates.

Aaron Brett, 18, ended up in hospital after the Defender- stolen from Cononley - crashed down a steep slope while being followed by police, the court heard on Friday.

The driver, Maurice Tretton, who Brett said had been under pressure by others to steal Land Rovers, was found dead two months later after falling from a roof in Bingley.

Brett, who had been on two separate community orders at the time, on charges including the possession of a firearm without a certificate, was re-sentenced and warned by magistrates another appearance in court would almost certainly end in a prison sentence.

Brett, of Southlands Road, Riddlesden, who admitted allowing himself to be carried in a vehicle he knew to have been stolen between November 27 and November 30 last year, was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work, given a six month curfew and banned from driving for a year.

The court heard that the owner of the Land Rover had parked it in Main Street, Cononley, as usual and only knew it had been stolen when the police arrived at 4am on November 29 to tell him it had been involved in an accident.

Brett and Tretton were being followed by an officer, who reported the vehicle being driven very badly on wet and winding roads before it left the road at Oxenhope.

Tretton had got out of the vehicle and was in the process of trying to free Brett, who had suffered a facial injury and was later taken to Leeds General Infirmary.

Prosecuting, Elizabeth Wright, said serious damage had been caused to the Land Rover consistent to it being rolled and that the men were lucky to have escaped serious injury.

She said Brett later told police that Tretton was under pressure to steal Land Rovers by others he did not want to name and that Tretton had later committed suicide.

In mitigation, Paul Fitzpatrick, said Brett was a young man who had been led into trouble by others despite the efforts of his mother.

He said Tretton was a lifelong friend of Brett’s and when he had turned up at his house in the stolen vehicle with an offer of a ride, he had foolishly accepted it.

“He was aware that Mr Tretton was being put under pressure by two older individuals and it would seem that led him to move to Bingley and to take his own life by leaping from a high floor in the building where he lived,” he said.

Brett was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and £60 victims surcharge.