SOME 17-year-olds can’t wait to take to the road in their first car, but Sam Scutts chooses to ride a different kind of speed machine - a 4mph mobility scooter.

After buying the Sungift 200 for £30 from a neighbour three weeks ago, Sam, who is able-bodied, has been cruising the streets of Gravesend in the electronic scooter.

He has christened the scooter, which has a maximum speed of 4mph, the ‘Speed Machine’ and says he turns heads when he drives it through the town centre.

Showing off the Speed Machine outside his home in The Avenue, Sam said: “When I drive through Gravesend people look at me because it’s unusual to see someone my age in a mobility scooter.”

Sam, who studies media at North West Kent College in Dartford, says he drives it because “it is a fun way to get around”.

However, his friend Rhys Jasinski says: “I think Sam uses it to try to pick up girls. He offered a girl a lift on it the other day.”

But the 19-year-old from Shoreham is not sure the scooter is a good way to attract the ladies, so he “hangs right back” when Sam drives it through the town centre.

Sam does admit the Speed Machine needs some work, saying: “I’m going to do it up, a bit like Pimp My Ride, because it is quite old.”

He is aware some people may think it is inappropriate for an able-bodied 17-year-old to ride a mobility scooter, but says: “I don’t think it’s offensive as I’m not hurting anyone, I’m just having fun.

“I have passed a couple of old and disabled people in their scooters while driving my scooter and they just smiled and laughed about it.”

However, Sam was stopped by the police while riding through Gravesend town centre on June 3.

He says two officers on foot, one on a bicycle and a police car swooped on him outside Debenhams as he rolled alongside his friends.

“They threatened to arrest me for dangerous driving, add three points to my provisional driving licence, tow away the scooter and fine me £110”, he says.

However, after a lengthy discussion the officers let Sam go with a warning and he drove home.

He said: “I was shocked by the police reaction because I was not doing anything wrong.

“I wasn’t driving dangerously, I was driving around people and stopping to let them pass, and the fastest I can go is walking pace.

“And there’s nothing illegal about me driving the scooter - I checked and its not against the law to drive one if you’re not disabled.”

He added: “The amount of police officers who came, it was as though they thought I was going to try to escape in it, even though it only does 4mph."

Chief Inspector Pete Ayling, of Kent police, says the officers response was “proportionate” because Sam was “thought to be acting in an anti-social manner”.

He added: “The number of officers involved is a consequence of the incident happening in a busy town centre.”

The incident has not put Sam off riding his mobility scooter and he says he will continue crusing the streets of Gravesend in the Speed Machine.

If the Speed Machine was to break, Sam would have to find alternative ways to get around Gravesend while he learns to drive a car.

As he holds a provisional driving licence, he could get a 50cc moped which, depending on where he bought or found it, should go faster than 4mph.

Other options are to cycle or skateboard, or use a rope to attach his skateboard to the back of a friend's bike and get pulled around.

If he's got a bit of cash to flash, he could catch the bus or hire a taxi, but all these modes of transport seem too conventional for Sam.

Far more to his liking would be bouncing around on a space-hopper, being fired out of a cannon pointed in the direction of his destination, or riding a cat.

Or he could just walk.