A Lithuanian national stole a Ford Mustang worth more than £50,000 - just three days after he arrived in the UK.

Southampton Crown Court heard how Joris Augustaitis, 19, stole the vehicle from a driveway in Whiteley in the early hours of March 24.

Acting alongside an unknown person, Augustaitis gained entry to the £55,000 car using keyless entry and managed to start it.

The owners of the vehicle were awoken at around 5.30am that morning to the sound of the engine starting and by the time they got to the window, the vehicle had been driven off.

But after the theft was reported to police, around 30 minutes later the vehicle was spotted at Windhover Roundabout.

One witness said the car looked like it was going to turn off the roundabout to head towards the M27 but came to an abrupt halt.

A man then got out of the vehicle and clutching a bag, slammed the door and ran over to the verge.

Police arrived and found Augustaitis covered in mud having jumped from garden to garden before trying to take off across a field in a bid to escape.

Around £3,000 in damage was caused to the interior of the vehicle during the theft, with the owner’s insurance company refusing to pay out.

A wheelchair, belonging to the owner’s wife had also been in the boot at the time, but this had been “ditched” during the journey and was never recovered.

In a statement read out in court, the victim said: “Like most people, I work hard to earn an honest living.

“So I cannot begin to imagine what was going through Mr Augustaitis's head when he decided to steal my car.

“He didn’t care about the significant impact his selfish actions would have on my wife and myself.

“It sounds cliché but that car really is my pride and joy. In his attempt to steal my prize possession, Mr Augustaitis decided to shred the interior apart like a wild animal leaving it in ruins.

“We have had to put ourselves in debt. My stress levels have been through the roof. I have been dealing with extreme anxiety and I have barely slept.

“I also worry about leaving my wife at home alone and was heart broken to see her so upset about the loss of her wheelchair.

“She has had an incredibly tough time dealing with her declining health over the last few years and that wheelchair was her way of getting some quality of life back.”

Augustaitis pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle.

Prosecutor, Keely Harvey said he has no criminal history in the UK but that there are believed to have been similar offences in his native Lithuania.

But his barrister, Eve Shelley, told the court she is not aware of any previous offences.

“He is a young immature man. Has found himself in a situation where he is then involved in this offence.

“This is out of character. [His parents] are shocked and appalled as to what he has become involved in.”

Augustaitus travelled to the country via Luton Airport on March 21 and claimed he was in the UK to explore the prospect of studying for a pilot's licence.

Sentencing was adjourned until June 7.