A JUDGE refused to sentence a prolific Oxford car thief due to how badly done his report by the probation service was.

Joseph Holden appeared before Oxford Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a string of offences in Headington and Cowley Road.

The 25-year-old, of no fixed abode, was caught on April 8 this year and charged with aggravated vehicle theft, driving while disqualified, handling stolen goods and driving with no insurance.

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He has been in prison on remand ever since and was due to be sentenced by Judge Peter Ross after formally admitting the crimes on September 21.

Instead proceedings were brought to a halt by the judge.

He criticised the probation service's pre-sentence report, which is carried out to provide courts with more information about the background of the offender and looks at treatment options for any mental health or addiction issues they may have.

Judge Ross said: "It seems to me the probation officer failed to even grasp the need to include the mental health issues."

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He pointed to a psychiatrist's report that the probation officer was 'silent' on and condemned the report as 'inadequate', 'bad' and 'very poor'.

The judge said he was minded to pass a deferred sentence for Holden but only if he was sure plans were in place to deal with the young man's mental health problems.

He said otherwise he feared it would simply be a 'revolving door' to him appearing before the court again on similar charges.

Asked if he would be willing to spend another month in prison for the next available court date, Holden responded: "I'd prefer to be sentenced today to be honest."

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Judge Ross apologised and explained that without a proper report: "I can't pass the sentence I believe to be right."

Holden agreed to the delay, which will mean he will have spent seven months in prison before being sentenced.

Addressing a probation officer present in the court, who was not the author of the pre-sentence document, he added: "I expect there to be an investigation into this report."

It is not the first time Holden has been before the courts for driving offences, having led police on a 100mph chase in his mother's stolen hire car when he was aged 17, eventually crashing after Heyford Hill Roundabout.

While still on bail for that theft he went on to steal a £32,000 Mercedes and he was finally jailed in 2013 after he drove the wrong way on the A34 during a police chase in a stolen Ford Fiesta.

Holden was at that time sentenced to 15 months in prison for dangerous driving, a further three months for refusing to provide a specimen and four months to run at the same time for driving while disqualified.

Judge Ross adjourned the current sentencing until November 29.