A LOVESTRUCK learner driver nabbed his friend’s car to go and see his girlfriend...but then ran away after he smashed into a row of parked cars.

Macauley Kelly had spent the day with his pal before going back to his house in Harwich.

By 11pm, Kelly’s friend had retired to bed, but he was still awake.

Inexplicably, and despite only holding a provisional driving licence, Kelly took the keys to his buddy’s Volkswagen Golf and drove to his partner’s house.

On the way back, he smashed into four parked cars in Main Road at 1.30am.

Kelly failed to remain at the scene of the crash.

The four parked cars suffered minor damage but the Golf was written off with the tyres burst and extensive scrapes to one side.

The car owner received a call to say it had been in a crash, and when Kelly was contacted, he revealed it was down to him.

He told the police the same thing in a voluntary interview.

Kelly, of Holland Road, Little Clacton, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving without a licence, without insurance and failing to stop after an accident when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

Mark Pearson, mitigating, said the 25-year-old had already paid his friend more than £300, which was what he paid for the car, after the incident in October.

“It was an act of stupidity by Mr Kelly on the day,” he said.

“His friend was in bed and he was missing his girlfriend.

“He saw the keys and the car and decided to drive it.

“He doesn’t have a licence and he knows he should not have been driving.

“The crash happened after he had seen her.

“After the accident he didn’t know what to do.”

Mr Pearson said the self-employed builder wanted to taking his driving test in the near future but realised it would be on the backburner until the end of his inevitable ban.

Kelly, who has no previous convictions, was given a year long community order where he must do 300 hours of unpaid work.

He must pay £105 costs and a £90 victim surcharge but was spared any further compensation having settled the damage with his pal privately.

The bench also gave him a year-long driving ban.