A BANNED driver who led police on a chase over a car park, through an underpass and along a pedestrianised area said when he was caught: "I'm f*****g Colin McRae."

Adam Robinson was behind the wheel of a van pulling a stolen trailer when he refused to stop for a patrol car in South Bank, near Middlesbrough, last October.

Teesside Crown Court heard today (Thursday, March 20) that the mile-long pursuit ended when Robinson abandoned the Mercedes near a travellers' site and ran off over waste ground.

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A police helicopter was drafted in to help with the search for the 22-year-old, and he was later found hiding on an embankment alongside a railway line.

Prosecutor Yvonne Taylor said: "He said I'm f*****g Colin McRae, and laughed. He said I didn't stop because I'm banned. It's my van though, it's not nicked."

Robinson pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, handling stolen goods, failing to stop and driving without insurance.

Recorder Richard Woolfall jailed him for 14 months and banned him from the roads for a further three years, after telling him: "This was a serious episode."

The court heard that Robinson, whose address was given as the travellers' site on King George Terrace, South Bank, has a number of previous convictions.

He was disqualified from driving in 2011 until he passed an extended test, and also has offences of dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking on his record.

Robert Mochrie, mitigating, said the father-of-two had separated from his partner shortly before the incident on October 6, and had got involved with a wrong crowd.

"When they are together, he is able to behave himself," said the lawyer. "When they are not together, as in this case, he is proven to go off the rails."