A SOUTHAMPTON man was arrested by police after he was caught napping in a stolen Mercedes.

Officers approached Jake Stanbridge, and another man, as they slept in the vehicle in Winchester Road.

Police used a patrol car to attempt to block the vehicle in before waking the pair up.

But Stanbridge, who was in the driver's seat, immediately turned the engine on, crashed into the police car and tried to escape.

As he did, officers pulled out their batons and smashed the windows of the car – before arresting both men.

When police searched the vehicle, they found items recently stolen from house burglaries in Southampton.

Among the stolen items were an Xbox, a Playstation and two laptops.

Tools, including a hammer, were also found in the boot of the car – though prosecutors accepted there was no evidence Stanbridge had committed the burglaries himself.

Stanbridge, of MacArthur Crescent, Bitterne, pleaded guilty to two counts of handling stolen goods and a count of aggravated vehicle taking.

In mitigation, Keeley Harvey said the incident was "out of character" for Stanbridge, who had two youth court appearances and an adult court appearance, all for possession of cannabis.

She said the 23-year-old had "fallen in with the wrong crowd", but was in skilled work and was being supported by his grandfather.

Sentencing Stanbridge to a 12 month jail term, suspended for two years, Judge Gary Burrell QC said: "It seems to me that you shouldn't really be here but you are here because of your choice of friends.

"You are someone who can work and you can work with your skills.

"You are not going to prison today. But if you do get yourself in trouble that suspended sentence is very likely to be implemented."

Stanbridge was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and was banned from driving for 12 months.