A DISQUALIFIED driver who took his girlfriend's car before causing a crash in Sandbanks has been spared a prison sentence.

Daniel Reeks, of South Road in Poole, was banned from the roads in April of this year after being convicted of drink driving.

However, on July 7 he took partner Laura Mitchell's Audi A1 for a drive. He then hit a Ford Fiesta, which collided with a Nissan Micra, in Banks Road, before leaving the scene.

On his return to his partner's address, he told her what had happened and she called police. It took officers three weeks to visit Miss Mitchell and take her statement.

On Friday, Reeks, 26, appeared at Poole Magistrates' Court to admit aggravated vehicle taking and property damaged, failing to report a road accident, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified.

Brendan Allen, mitigating, said Reeks is "genuinely remorseful for his behaviour".

"It was a very stupid decision," Mr Allen said.

"He was disqualified and didn't have permission to drive the car."

Miss Mitchell and Reeks are still in a relationship and he has paid the excess on her insurance, the court heard.

"He tried to make things right immediately," Mr Allen said.

"Upon getting home, he explained what had happened.

"Miss Mitchell contacted police. It is not the case that police came to speak to her because she is the registered keeper of the vehicle.

"He immediately told her what he had done and she contacted the police.

"For reasons I can't explain, it took the police three weeks to come and speak to her and take a statement."

Reeks' fingerprints were found inside the Audi during later investigations of the vehicle.

The defendant was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for a year and a four-month curfew between 7pm and 5am. He must also pay £85 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Magistrates have also disqualified him once again for 22 weeks.