Two giggling brothers could barely contain their amusement as they appeared in court accused of a string of serious crimes.
Carlos and Nathan Howard, aged 20 and 18 respectively, both laughed openly in the dock as they admitted burgling a St Helens home while a householder was asleep upstairs - before making their getaway in the victim’s car.
Nathan Howard attempted to disguise his amusement by covering his face with his hand but his brother thought nothing of brazenly chuckling out loud.
Carlos Howard, who was in breach of a suspended prison sentence, also admitted possession of cannabis and causing damage to the stolen vehicle – a white Fiat Panda valued at £5,000.
Nathan Howard admitted unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, driving while disqualified, making off from a petrol station without paying, driving without insurance and breaching a detention and training order.
Angela Blackmore, prosecuting, told how the brothers stole two car keys - one relating to the Fiat Panda - in an overnight raid at a house on Pond Walk, Derbyshire Hill, in the early hours of July 7.
They also stole a handbag and purse, which are both yet to be recovered, after breaking in via a rear door.
CCTV footage later showed Nathan Howard, of Sherdley House, Prescot Road, filling the stolen car up with £40 worth of fuel at a petrol station on Warrington Road before driving off making no attempt to pay.
By this time the registration plate at the front of the vehicle had been changed.
Officers later found the vehicle parked up in Wargrave Road, Newton-le-Willows. Damage had been caused to the front of the vehicle and a headlight.
Nathan Howard was asleep in the driver’s seat at the time and Carlos Howard, who was found to be carrying cannabis, was also in the vehicle - along with another man.
Chris Bivan, defending both brothers, made no application for bail and said Carlos Howard, of no fixed abode, accepted he was in breach of a suspended prison sentence.
Magistrates opted to activate Carlos Howard’s eight-week suspended sentence and sentence Nathan Howard to six weeks’ detention.
They also committed the case to Liverpool Crown Court for sentence in the week commencing August 4.