A GETAWAY driver who took part in three Oxfordshire burglaries has avoided a prison sentence.

Thomas Small drove a BMW car to three houses on April 17 this year and waited outside while at least one other man tried to break in.

He admitted carrying out burglaries in Witney Way, Eynsham, and West Way, Botley, as well as another attempted burglary in West Way.

Sarah O’Kane, prosecuting, said the group made off with three chequebooks from one property and six building society books from the other. She told Recorder Andrew Burrows at Oxford Crown Court yesterday that the defendant had also admitted driving dangerously on the A34.

The 23-year-old drove a metre behind a car, before overtaking at 65mph and throwing objects out of the window at the other vehicle.

Small had four previous convictions for offences including theft.

Lawrence Henderson, defending, said the offences were “out of character” for Small, of Aldermaston, near Reading.

He said: “These offences were motivated by a lack of work, lack of money, a desire to provide for his family, as well as depression and low self-esteem.”

The father of two was given a 44-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 180 hours of unpaid work and six months of supervision.