A teenager who pretended to be a police officer to pull over unsuspecting drivers before stealing their cars has been sentenced.

Nineteen-year-old Anthony Ward has been given three years and three months in a young offenders institution after admitting three counts of theft and three of attempted theft at Aylesbury Crown Court on May 13.

It comes after a string of incidents in November last year and January this year.

On November 28, a man had left a petrol station in Cumberland Avenue in Slough and was driving along when he noticed a car driving closely behind him at speed with blue and red lights.

The driver thought it was a police car so pulled over into a side road.

A man got out of the car behind and approached the driver's side window, shining a torch into his car before asking the driver to get out.

The driver got out - but his car was then stolen by the fake officer, while an accomplice drove off the car he arrived in.

Then, on January 10, two people were driving along the M40 at around 5am when they noticed an illuminated blue light on a vehicle behind that was driving at speed.

After pulling over, they were approached by a man who said he was a police officer.

They were asked to step out of the car, and as they did, the "officer" got into the car and drove off.

Days later on January 16, another man's car was driven away after he pulled over onto the hard shoulder between junction 13 and 14 of the M25 because a car with a blue light was behind him.

The driver was again told the man was a police officer.

Three other incident happened on January 16, 27 and 30, when drivers were followed on the M3, M4 and the A4, Great West Road in London - although fortunately, none of their vehicles were stolen.

Only the car from the first theft has been recovered so far.

Ward, of Oxford Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court for a Skype sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

Investigating officer, DC Mark Banham, of Amersham police station said: “Anthony Ward has been sentenced to three years and three months’ in a Young Offenders Institution after he falsely said he was a police officer, before stealing cars belonging to members of the public.

“Cars belonging to victims would be followed at high speeds, displaying blue lights, until the victims pulled over.

"These are well meaning members of society who innocently believed that they were being pulled over by police.

“Their cars were then driven off, leaving them alone and without transport on long stretches of road and in the early hours of the morning.

“Three further attempts were made to force members of the public to pull over. Thankfully they did not and their cars were not stolen from them.

“If you have any doubt about someone who identifies themselves to you as a police officer, you can always ask to see their warrant card. All officers, including covert officers, will carry their warrant card with them.

"Their warrant card will display their photograph, name and shoulder number and will include a hologram of the force crest and the signature of the Chief Constable.

"You can also call 101 and give the officer’s shoulder number or name to the call handler and they will be able to confirm the officer’s identity.”