A GROUP of five youths led police officers on a chase lasting more than an hour after stealing a car from petrol station forecourt.

The 16-year-old driver, and his four friends aged 12, 14, 15 and 16, snuck on to the forecourt of the BP garage on Cricklade Road last night at around 9.40pm and took the wheel of a red Ford Fiesta.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman confirmed the owner of the car had left the engine running as he went to withdraw cash and when he realised the youngsters had hijacked his car, he attempted to grab hold of the door and stop them pulling away.

The hijackers managed to drive off, causing the owner to fall and injure his knee. The victim then called police.

The youths sped along Cricklade Road and turned onto Thamesdown Drive, driving past officers at 10.11pm.

Police gave chase but managed to lose the joyriders for almost an hour, prompting officers to call for back up from the police helicopter in Devizes.

Officers then traced them again heading back towards Cricklade Road on Thamesdown Drive and laid a stinger trap for them, which caused them to lose control and crash into a set of traffic lights near the Aldi supermarket junction at around 11pm.

The youngsters - all boys - were arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent, better known as TWOC'ing, and have been bailed after being interviewed at Gablecross police station.