A thief who stole a cab from Gatwick Airport and went on a 130mph joyride has been spared jail.

Mohammed Ahmed stole a Mercedes taxi from South Terminal at Gatwick Airport and sped off up the M25 and M40 to his home town of Walsall.

One taxi had declined to take the 24-year-old on the night of the incident on September 17 last year.

Ahmed, unemployed, then found another taxi which the driver had left with its keys in the ignition while they collected a fare from inside.

The Argus: Mohammed Ahmed speeding down the motorwayMohammed Ahmed speeding down the motorway (Image: Sussex Police)

He took the taxi before dropping off the identification documents at the taxi driver’s address and driving off at speed.

He reached speeds in excess of 130mph and also drove into cordoned-off areas with roadworks in order to evade officers.

Despite police using a “stinger” tyre deflation device, he continued to drive away at speeds of more than 100mph after losing a tyre on the Mercedes taxi.

Ahmed was tracked by a police helicopter from the M25 to the M40, then the M42 and M6.

Ahmed reached the A34 and was still driving at speeds of 70mph in a 30mph zone, going the wrong way around roundabouts, through red lights, and on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic.

He drove into a cul-de-sac in Walsall and was arrested.

He was charged with aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving.

Ahmed appeared before Lewes Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, August 4.

He was disqualified from driving for 18 months, and was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work as part of a 14-month suspended prison sentence.

The court ordered him to complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement sessions and pay £841.53 in compensation to the taxi driver.

He must also pay £425 court costs and a victim surcharge of £187.

The Argus: Ahmed was arrested in WalsallAhmed was arrested in Walsall (Image: Sussex Police)

Thames Valley Police and Warwickshire Police assisted Sussex Police.

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Darren Lillywhite said: “Ahmed had been refused a fare when he decided to take the taxi outside the South Terminal.

“His driving was so reckless that police were not able to continue pursuing him because of the risk it posed to other road users and officers.

“Ahmed is very lucky not to have caused serious harm to either himself, our officers, or other road users. His driving was appalling.”