AN OPPORTUNIST thief who jumped into a Good Samaritan’s car and drove off in it was labelled “an utterly reprehensible man” by the judge sentencing him.

Ryan Holmes seized his chance when the Volkswagen Golf was left with its hazard warning lights on while the owner helped an elderly woman who was lying in the street, Bradford Crown Court heard this week.

Holmes, 23, of Clervaux Court, Hunters Park Avenue, Clayton, Bradford, sped off in the £15,000 car containing the owner’s house keys, wallet, bank cards and phone.

He then used one of the stolen cards to buy a McDonalds meal for himself, the court heard.

Holmes pleaded guilty to stealing the car from Mayfield Grove, Wilsden, on September 7, 2017, and fraudulently using the bank card.

Prosecutor Paul Nicholson said the car’s owner stopped his vehicle a few feet from the distressed elderly woman and was helping her to her feet when Holmes pounced.

A van driver stopped to assist and followed the stolen Golf until he lost sight of it.

The court heard that Holmes had 16 previous convictions for 29 offences, including handling stolen good, house burglary, theft from vehicles and being carried in a vehicle taken without consent.

Mr Nicholson said he had served custodial sentences since being apprehended for stealing the Golf.

Judge Jonathan Rose heard that Holmes had been mistakenly committed to the crown court for the offences and so his sentence could not exceed what was available to the magistrates.

His solicitor advocate, Safter Salam, conceded that the theft was “a deeply unpleasant offence”.

He suggested a robust community penalty rather than the maximum six-month jail sentence the judge was able to impose.

Judge Jonathan Rose told Holmes: “You are an utterly reprehensible man.

He added: “There is not a single word that can be said on your behalf in mitigating this offence.”

Holmes had pleaded guilty only because the evidence against him was overwhelming, the court heard.

Judge Rose said there would be utter disbelief that a human being could behave like that.

The maximum sentence was just six months, cut to four months to give Holmes credit for his guilty plea, meaning he would spend only two months behind bars.

The judge stressed that such a sentence was “the law, not me”.

Instead, Holmes was sentenced to a two-year community order with 300 hours of unpaid work and a four-month curfew order.

The judge reserved any breach of the order to himself.

And he concluded by warning Holmes not to miss “a single minute” of the unpaid work requirement or a long prison sentence would follow.