A teenager who took up banger racing in a bid to beat his behaviour problems is on to a winner.
Dean Pratt, 17, has battled a type of autism called Asperger's syndrome to find success behind the wheel.
As a 15-year old Dean spent six months secretly joyriding in his parent's car in the early hours.
His parents Patrick and Shannon only discovered what he had been doing when he crashed.
Dean's psychologist told his parents to encourage his interest in cars in an attempt to curb his anti-social behaviour.
He took up banger racing in 2008 and left his first ever `Rookie Rods' meeting at Buxton clutching the winner's trophy.
Dean, of Firgrove, Rochdale, finished second in two qualifying heats but won the final.
He was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome aged 14 after years of bad behaviour. The condition means he has difficulty communicating.
Dean's father, Patrick, a residential care worker, said: "When we found out he'd stolen the car we rang the police to report him. We didn't want him to think he could get away with anything.
"The police were very supportive and didn't press charges. But we still had to hide the family car keys.
"The doctor said people with Asperger's get a fixation and it completely takes hold and we needed to channel his interest and make it positive.
"We decided to try to get him into something and he took it upon himself that he wanted to try banger racing.
"He started last year and he's just really taken to the sport.
"It's not the safest sport, but he puts all his time and energy into it and shows real promise.
"If he can do well this season maybe he can move up next season, but we won't be able to fund the racing by ourselves.
"It costs about £100 a race for fuel, entry fees and upkeep."
The family is hoping to find a sponsor.
|Liveleak on Facebook|