A SOUTHAMPTON man was caught driving a stolen £22,000 car when he went to get cigarettes at a city petrol station.

Craig Fisher, 32, was captured on CCTV driving into Esso Petrol Station in Northam in a Kia Sportage.

The 2016 registered car, said to be worth £22,000, had been stolen in a burglary hours earlier.

But Fisher, who was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court this week, said it was not him who had stolen the vehicle.

The court heard it had been stolen by a fellow drug user, from a property in Moors Close, Colden Common, in June 2017.

Fisher said the man had asked him to drive the car because he had taken drugs and was too high to drive himself.

He told police that after stopping at the petrol station he drove him and his friend to ASDA car park in Portland Terrace where they both took drugs.

Now Fisher, who pleaded guilty to one count of handling stolen goods, has been given a suspended sentence.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Henry said this was part due to delays in bringing the case to court.

And mitigating for Fisher, Khalid Missouri said his client had managed to get away from his former friendship group, who he said had encouraged his offending behaviour.

Mr Missouri also said that Fisher's four children would lose out if their father went to prison.

In sentencing Fisher, of Colby Street, Southampton, to an 18 month sentence, suspended for 12 months, Judge Henry said: "You committed these offences in June 2017, more than two-and-a-half years ago.

"This (delay) should not be happening. You should not be waiting two-and-a-half years to be sentenced and victims should not have to wait two-and-a-half years to find out what happened.

"But still, this is where we are."

Fisher was also ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.