A YOUNG man who was ordered to drive people about took police on a high-speed chase through a town centre.

Josh Graham was spotted by police in the early hours of the morning as he drove along Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough but when they activated their blue lights he drove off at speed, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 21-year-old mechanic, who is due to become a father for the first time, reached speeds of almost 90mph as he desperately attempted to speed away from officers.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, told the court how Graham sped through red lights at speeds in excess of 70mph during the police pursuit before his high-speed rampage was brought to a shuddering stop when police successfully deployed a Stinger.

During the 15-minute long pursuit, Graham reached speeds of 65mph on Acklam Road, before hitting more than 80mph on Mandale Road and Thornaby Road at around 4.40am on Thursday, May 16.

He said. “The vehicle appeared to be out of control while other vehicles were present at the time.

“A stinger was deployed on Low Lane and it brought the car to a stop.”

Graham, of Hampden Way, Thornaby, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst under the influence of cannabis, driving without insurance or a licence and possession of cannabis.

In mitigation, Conor Quinn, said his client had lost his way after losing his job but was now back in full time employment working for a garage.

Mr Quinn urged the judge to spare Graham from immediate custody as he is due to become a father shortly.

“In my submission, he doesn’t present a danger to the public,” he added. “He took full responsibility for his actions.”

Judge Peter Armstrong passed an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years and banned him from driving for 12 months.

"This was foolish and extremely dangerous driving," he said. "You asked to drive the car, you had no licence or insurance, you were being directed how to behave that night."