A car thief who stole a top-of-the-range Mercedes belonging to a cider magnate was caught after being tracked by a police dog – for two miles.
Timothy Davies, 28, jumped into the £50,000 car after its owner John Thatcher, the former chairman of Thatchers Cider, left the keys were left in the ignition.
Davies later dumped the top-of-the-range motor but was then caught after he was tracked for two miles by police dog Troy, a German shepherd.
The Avon and Somerset Police canine followed a trail through woods and across fields – leading officers to the suspect near the A38 at Bristol Airport.
Mr Thatcher left the Mercedes M350 outside the Thatchers Cider Shop in Sandford, Somerset, on April 22.
Davies, 28, of Bristol, was charged with theft and sentenced to a 40-week suspended jail sentence at Bristol Crown Court.
He was also given a two years supervision order and told to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.
Judge Michael Longman told him “You have the most dreadful record and it’s made worse by the fact that this was a high value car.
“Mr Thatcher may be blaming himself for leaving the keys in his car but the fact is you went out to steal a car and it just happened to be his.”
The court heard father-of-five Davies had a bad record of theft of motor vehicles, taking vehicles without consent and dangerous driving.
David Maunder, prosecuting, said: “A police dog and handler being used to find the suspect tracked right up to where he was sitting and he was arrested for theft.”
Davies was caught during his latest crime by Troy and his handler Pc Jim Hampson.
Pc Hampson said: “I’m very proud of his drive and determination. Tracking is his best skill and he’ll go on and on.
“We went over a fence and through wood and over fields and it’s a real challenge keeping hold of him.”