A BANNED motorist left a friend "fearing for his life" when he took police on a high-speed chase.

James Rowland was jailed for 14 months after he was twice caught driving whilst banned in little over two weeks last year.

On the first occasion he gave a false name when he was stopped driving a white van in the Victoria Embankment area of Darlington on December 2.

However, it was on the second occasion when the 29-year-old decided to drive off at speed in a desperate attempt to avoid arrest.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Rowland was spotted standing next the van while it was parked up in Burnside Road when one of the officers recognised the defendant and waited to see who drove off.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said as soon as Rowland set off driving the officers activated their blue lights and ordered him to pull over.

"The vehicle failed to stop and it was travelling along Geneva Road at speed," she said. "The defendant performed a handbrake turn almost colliding with a small white car, the car remained on the wrong side of the road before he performed another handbrake turn onto Harris Street at speed, the defendant then did another handbrake turn onto Fenby Avenue.

"It travelled along that street at 70mph, that's despite there being a number of speed bumps on the road – it caused the vehicle to slide side to side every time it went over a bump."

Miss Haigh said the police pursuit came to an end when Rowland pulled over in Fenby Avenue before attempting to flea on foot.

She added: "There was a passenger in the van. He was described as being in shock and said he feared for his life and was begging him to stop."

Rowland, of West Auckland Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to two charges of driving whilst disqualified, refusing to give a specimen for analysis, dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving without insurance.

In mitigation, Nigel Soppitt, said his client was being forced to drive by his boss otherwise he wasn't going to get paid for his work.

Judge Deborah Sherwin described his driving as "appalling" after leaving his passenger "fearing for his life".

The judge jailed Rowland for a total of 14 months for dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified. He was also banned from driving for three years and seven months.