Bored German teen takes grandmother's car for a spin – to Paris

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The Independent Online

A bored 13-year-old German schoolboy was believed to have completed one of the longest teenage joyrides on record after he took his grandmother's car and drove it more than 400 miles to Paris because he wanted to "experience something".

Police in the north German town of Leer in Lower Saxony said the boy, whose identity could not be revealed because he is a minor, snatched the keys of his grandmother's Hyundai from a hook in the hallway of his home in the nearby village of Rhauderfehn late last Sunday night.

Ernst Queder, one of the police officers investigating the incident said: "The grandmother was living with the boy and his parents in the same house. She did not realise that her car had been stolen until early the following morning."

He added: "The boy left a note telling his parents that they should not worry because he would phone in and tell them where he was. He told them he had driven off because he was bored stiff and finally wanted to experience something."

Germany's highway police say that even in a country which is famous for its autobahns, fast cars and lack of speed limits, teenage joyriders rarely manage to complete more than a few turns around the local housing estate before crashing the car or being caught by either their parents or the police.

However the 13-year-old proved to be an exception. He covered about 435 miles by driving non-stop towards Paris through Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning. Police admitted they had no explanation for the boy's exceptional driving skills. It is against the law for people under the age of 18 to drive in Germany.

Police say he would have almost certainly reached the French capital had he not slipped up over an important detail concerning his stolen car's fuel consumption. The boy pulled into a service station near the town of Estrées-Saint-Denis outside Paris to fill up early on Monday. However he was not aware that his grandmother's Hyundai ran on super lead-free petrol.

"Staff at the service station grew suspicious when they saw him trying to fill up the car with diesel," said Mr Queder. "They called the French police and the boy's joyride came to rather an abrupt end."

The boy was held in police custody in France until Monday afternoon. "His parents had to drive the 700 kilometres to collect him and his grandmother's car," a Leer police spokesman said yesterday. "As far as we are aware he was not trying to win a place in the Guinness Book of Records. He was just bored."

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