A BANNED driver found in bed shortly after a police chase has now admitted he was at the wheel of the car being pursued.

John James Anthony Lawson was arrested after being found in bed at a house in Leadgate, near Consett, on September 29 last year.

Durham Crown Court heard a short time earlier police pursued an Audi car which was allegedly driven in a dangerous manner, at up to 80-miles per hour, during day-time, partly round residential streets of Leadgate.

The driver abandoned the car, before making for a nearby house, where police found him in bed.

Despite claiming he was not driving, the officer involved in the chase identified him as having been at the wheel.

Appearing at a Durham Crown Court plea hearing, in November, Lawson denied dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

His counsel, Paul Cross, told that hearing: “The car belonged to his girlfriend and had been stolen.

“He said the identification was mistaken. It may be police were misled because his documents were found in the car, as he was in bed when police came to that address.”

The case was adjourned for trial this week, but, Steven Reed, for the defendant, asked for the charges to be put again.

Lawson maintained his denial to dangerous driving, but he admitted careless driving, and changed his plea to guilty to driving while disqualified.

He also admitted driving while over the limit for a specified drug, cocaine.

Jonathan Harley, prosecuting, said although the standard of driving was still considered to have been dangerous, after considering the position, the Crown would take the “pragmatic and practical” view to accept those pleas.

But, the court was told Lawson is also awaiting sentence on, “more grave matters”, at Newcastle Crown Court, involving the robbery of a motorist, in which car keys and a Vauxhall Corsa car were taken, on Lobley Hill, Gateshead, on February 24, last year.

Judge Jonathan Carroll therefore agreed to send the Durham case to Newcastle Crown Court, to be sentenced along with the Gateshead offences.

He remanded Lawson, 29, of East Street, Grange Villa, to remain in custody pending sentence at Newcastle, on a date to be fixed.