A DISQUALIFIED driver led police on a three-mile high-speed chase in a car taken after a house burglary three days earlier, a court heard.

Having driven well above speed limits on country roads and made risky manoeuvres at junctions, in a bid to escape pursuing police vehicles, Lee Anthony Chapman was only stopped with use of a ‘stinger’ device, which caused the Ford Mondeo’s tyres to deflate.

The 23-year-old defendant, whose previous motoring convictions meant he was already supposed to be banned from the roads until at least 2021, was jailed for a total of 20 months at Durham Crown Court.

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Chapman, of River Walk, West Auckland, admitted dangerous driving, having no insurance, driving while disqualified and handling the stolen car, when he previously appeared before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said the car was taken from the driveway of a house in the Bishop Auckland area on Sunday March 12, after an intruder entered the property and removed the car keys.

Chapman, was recognised at the wheel of the black Mondeo, by a passing police officer, near Bishop Auckland, on March 15.

He was followed onto Leazes Lane by the police car, and the Mondeo turned then left, passing the Bay Horse pub, where the officer was aware of other vehicles ahead.

But, the Mondeo then sped away, leading police on a chase reaching speeds of up to 70mph on a 40-limit stretch of road, and 60mph in a 30mph zone, between High Etherley and Bishop Auckland.

Chapman veered on to grass verges and drove over traffic islands attempting to escape the police cars, before coming to a halt after driving over the 'stinger’ laid across a road approaching Escomb Primary School.

When arrested, Chapman claimed he was paid £100 by an unknown male to drive the car to Durham.

But, Amrit Jandoo, for Chapman, said the defendant's admissions to all four charges were made at the first opportunity, during his first court appearance in the case, just days later.

Jailing him, for 12 months for dangerous driving, Recorder Peter Makepeace added eight months for the handling charge, with no separate penalty for the other offences.

Recorder Makepeace also made Chapman subject of a further five year driving ban, to start only after the custodial element of the sentence is served, in ten months.