A THUG caught driving a stolen car which had a kitchen knife stashed inside has been jailed for 16 months.

Rhys Hennebry, 24, was behind the wheel of a stolen £14,000 Kia Sportage when officers swooped on him at the Hythe Tesco store in Colchester last month.

A search uncovered a large blade.

Hennebry, of Deck Place, Colchester, admitted handling stolen goods and possession of a knife last month.

A sentencing hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court heard Hennebry knew the car was illegal when he purchased it.

Judge David Turner QC said the offences - and Hennebry’s record - meant he had no option but to jail him.

He said: “I’m not sure what you were thinking when you were out and about in a car which you knew perfectly well was stolen.

“Not only were you driving around in a stolen vehicle there was a substantial kitchen knife concealed in it.

“You have been offending for nine years. It is a depressing record for anybody of your relative youth.

“I have no doubt at all since you were a young boy drugs have blighted your life.

“But your record demonstrates a need for immediate custody.”

The car had been stolen from outside a woman’s Colchester home in March.

A burglar had got into the house, stolen a spare key and then made off with the vehicle.

It had contained personal property, the logbook and her children’s car seats.

Hennebry has a string of previous convictions - the most serious being when in 2014 he was jailed for three years after admitting two counts of affray, one of which involved an attack on Jay Whiston minutes before the teen was murdered.

He had thrown a bottle at the 17-year-old before Edward Redman stabbed him to death outside a house party in Marlowe Way, Colchester.

Redman was jailed for life.

Since his release Hennebry has received a suspended sentence for driving offences.

The court heard Hennebry had “a troubled history” but had made significant efforts to try to give up drugs.

Judge Turner said it was “manifestly unsatisfactory” that offences which have come to light since Hennebry was arrested were not ready to be dealt with at this hearing.

He ordered the knife to be destroyed.