A DRIVER who led police on a chase through residential streets was last night behind bars - despite his barrister claiming he could not cope in prison.

Daniel Hanley's lawyer described the 26-year-old as vulnerable and said he was bullied when he was in jail for motoring offences six years ago.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, told Teesside Crown Court Hanley's partner was due to give birth to their second child in two months, and she would rely upon him.

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Mr Withyman urged the judge, Recorder Toby Hedworth, QC, to suspend a prison sentence after a probation officer spoke in a pre-sentence report of "some concerns".

"He is terrified of going back to a custodial environment," Mr Withyman said. "He was bullied there in 2008, and had some very unpleasant things happen to him."

Hanley, of East Crescent, Middlesbrough, admitted dangerous driving on October 4 last year, and was jailed for ten months, and banned from the roads for two years.

The judge told him: "It is a great mercy that no-one was injured, and if they had been, likely to be injured seriously, because you had no regard for anyone.

"I'm afraid of your partner is pregnant and requires your support, that is your fault had nobody else's. The fact you may find it difficult in custody is your fault.

"I am told that your difficulties relate to your use of drugs and you have voluntarily referred yourself for help, and you have great fears of the consequences of custody.

"It is apparent these fears didn't act upon you to stop you taking the drugs in the first place or to drive in the way you chose to do so on that night."

Prosecutor Sue Jacobs told the court that police tried to stop a Volkswagen Bora after it made a dangerous manoeuvre, but the driver fled at speed.

The car failed to give way at junctions, went through a red light, and raced through tightly-parked vehicles before it crashed and the occupants ran off.