A TEENAGER who drove at 120mph into oncoming traffic on a busy motorway before being found hiding in bushes by a police dog has been jailed.

Liam Facey led police on a high speed pursuit on June 12 , hitting speeds of more than 100mph as he drove through red lights and on the wrong side of the road in South Tyneside.

Officers had to abandon the pursuit when he turned onto the wrong side of the road on the A19, almost colliding head-on with a police car.

A National Police Air Service helicopter, which was helping officers, continued to follow the silver BMW 318ti until he turned off the motorway and abandoned the vehicle on the roadside.

After fleeing into woodland, he was discovered by police dog Ziva hiding in bushes.

The Northern Echo: Police dog ZivaPolice dog Ziva

He was arrested and later charged with dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to stop for police.

Facey, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to all charges last month.

On Thursday, during a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, he was sent to a youth offender's institute for 14 months.

Chief Inspector Dave Guthrie, of Northumbria Police's Motor Patrols Department, said: "This pursuit started in the early hours of the morning after great work by local officers in South Shields who saw him driving in a suspicious manner.

“They carried out checks and found he was uninsured and were determined to not let him evade justice. It was pitch black and pouring down with rain, so the conditions were very difficult.

"The driver knew that he had been caught inside an uninsured car and was prepared to do anything necessary to avoid being arrested by police.

"It is through sheer luck that he was not involved in a serious accident and the manner of his driving put the lives of other innocent road users at risk.

"In fact, his driving was that dangerous that our officers were left with no choice but to abandon the pursuit to try and reduce the risk to other cars.

"It was during this time that Liam Facey took the opportunity to abandon the vehicle so that he could take cover in woodlands just off the A19.

"What he didn't consider was just how good our police dogs can be and PD Ziva was quickly able to catch his scent and find him hiding in some bushes.

"Thanks to the teamwork of the Dog Section, the response officers from South Tyneside and the police helicopter we have been able to get the suspect into custody.

“The response teams who initiated the pursuit have then worked tirelessly to gather the evidence that ultimately secured an early guilty plea and put this man behind bars.”

Police officers Mark Wainwright, David Hutchinson and Leon Edusei had carried out the initial pursuit before they were forced to pull off due to Facey’s dangerous driving.

The NPAS helicopter was deployed from Newcastle, one of 14 NPAS bases supporting police forces across England and Wales to help with the search before PC Kane and Ziva found Facey.

Ian Vause, assistant operations director for NPAS in the North-East, said: “Vital information can be passed to ground units by an NPAS helicopter crew overhead, allowing for effective tactics to be used.

“I’m pleased our crew were able to assist Northumbria Police in bringing this dangerous driver to justice.”