This suspected car thief made a huge mistake when he decided to stop off for a burger at McDonald’s.

The driver can be seen getting ready to make his order in a blue Audi A3, on cloned plates, at the drive-through in Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park.

Police just so happened to be at the scene and tried to stop the car, which sped away before crashing into a metal pole in a disabled bay in the McDonald’s car park.

During the commotion, a pedestrian was almost knocked over and the two men in the car got out and ran off.

The Audi A3 is believed to have been stolen from London and officers are now circulating this CCTV image taken from the fast food restaurant’s drive-through booth.

PC Sam Wayland, from Basildon police, said: “Police tried to stop them there, but they made off from the park. They knocked over a metal post while trying to get away and almost hit a member of the public. We need to find them.”

She added: “Officers did manage to get the car back.”

She has also urged residents in the area to remain vigilant after 11 cars were stolen during burglaries in Basildon so far in February.

Police have also so far recorded 43 burglaries in Basildon in the last 19 days.

She said: “We have definitely noticed an increase of cars being stolen from burglaries in Basildon, Billericay and Wickford and I would urge people to follow crime prevention advice.

“Keep your keys away from doors and windows, and tucked away out of sight.

“Have your vehicle's windows etched with its registration number or the last seven digits of the vehicle identification number.

“This can put criminals off, as it makes your car more difficult to sell. It also makes it easier for police to get your car back to you if it is stolen.”

If you recognise the man in the CCTV image, can call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.