A man has been jailed for almost two years after a police chase in a stolen Range Rover near Hitchin and Welwyn.

Ashden Whelan, 32, from Tilbury, was sentenced to 20 months behind bars for attempted theft, theft, driving while disqualified and going equipped for theft, after appearing at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday.

On November 1 last year, a woman from Great Amwell saw Whelan at the wheel of her Range Rover, valued between £52,000 and £59,000.

She confronted him before he left on a motorbike with Billy Stewart, also 32, from Braintree. As he left, he told the victim: "Go back in. I will come back to take your car."

Prosecutor Katie Doherty said that half an hour later a man in Whitwell saw his wife’s Range Rover, valued at between £17,000 and £20,000, being driven off.

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He dialled 999 and followed the car and the motorbike as they headed towards Welwyn.

An unmarked police car joined in the pursuit and follwed the Range Rover, which was driven in convoy with the motorcycle.

Whelan stopped on Bramfield Road, Hertford, got out of the Range Rover and went to climb onto the motorcycle, but it was driven off by Stewart before he could get on.

The prosecutor said Whelan had a taser pointed at him and was arrested, with key cloning equipment found on him by officers.

Stewart was arrested nearby on the A119, after a stinger was used to puncture his tyres.

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He drove at 50mph in a 30mph zone and on the wrong side of the road before he dropped the bike. He ran into Fore Street, where an officer tackled him to the ground.

He admitted attempted theft, theft and dangerous driving, and was given a 12 month sentenced suspended for 18 months, orded to complete 30 days of rehabilitation, carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and was banned from driving for a year.

"Think yourself very lucky you are leaving court by the front door and not prison van," Judge Richard Foster said.

The court heard that Whelan was in debt and decided to steal a car, with Judge Foster saying: "Many people are in desperate financial straights. They don’t go around committing crime."