A 'HAPLESS' driver who crashed his car twice as he tried to flee police has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Dean Ward was spotted by police sitting in his carer's Nissan Qashqai in the early hours of September 4 and as they approached him on Beresford Crescent, Middlesbrough, he sped away at speeds of up to 60mph in a 20 zone.

Vicki Lamballe, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that the 28-year-old crashed into a parked ford Fiesta on the Greenway before speeding off again.

"He crashed for a second time and crashed into concrete bollards," she said. "He made a hapless attempt to escape as he fell over twice before being arrested nearby."

She said Ward had five convictions for ten offences, including driving whilst disqualified and aggravated vehicle taking.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, said Ward had not been in trouble for a number of years and panicked when he saw the police.

Judge Deborah Sherwin said: "He can keep himself out of trouble but makes spectacularly bad decisions."

Ward pleaded guilty to dangerous driving; possession of cocaine, a class A drug; driving without a licence; failing to stop after an accident and driving without insurance.

Mr Soppitt added: "He realises that he has problems; he has given the car up and doesn't want to be associated with that car again.

"It is a serious matter, normally he would expect to go immediately to custody but with this pre-sentence report and his medical problems, it is one that your honour could suspend."

The judge told the diabetic that it would be better for him to take his medication and avoid taking cocaine, if he wants to improve his wellbeing.

She sentenced him to eight months custody, suspended for 18 months, for dangerous driving and a concurrent seven day sentence for possession of cocaine, suspended for 12 months.

"These offences are serious," she said. "So serious they cross the custody threshold and your convictions make it worse as they are for motoring matters but they do go back some time, so clearly you are someone who is capable of keeping out of trouble."

Ward, of Ferndale Avenue, Middlesbrough, was also disqualified for driving for 18 months and ordered to carry out 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.