A BANNED motorist arrested for dangerous driving was released “under investigation” only to commit two further offences within weeks.

Hayden David Bowers was disqualified from driving following previous road traffic offences in 2016.

Durham Crown Court was told he was seen at the wheel of a Ford Transit van on the A688 near Tursdale, overtaking dangerously, forcing other motorists to take evasive action, in heavy traffic, on September 4, 2018, at 9.30am.

With police pursuing, he pulled into a layby, before speeding away at 80-miles per hour, taking a roundabout in the wrong direction.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said following a puncture the van mounted a pedestrian island and came to rest. Both he and a passenger jumped out and fled, but Bowers was arrested.

He denied driving, so was released pending inquiries.

But on September 20, he was seen driving a Saab car in The Grove, Coxhoe.

Mr Sabiston said he drove away dangerously and was involved in a collision with a parked vehicle in which the air bags deployed.

He, again, ran off, evading police, but was recognised by the pursuing officers and dna evidence from the air bag linked him to the crime.

The court heard he was only re-arrested after a further incident, on October 9 in which he drove a Ford Focus at speed over traffic calming humps in Melrose Drive, St Helen Auckland, before passing a primary school, also at speed, at home time.

He claimed he was not the driver in any of the incidents, but on the day of trial, in January 2019, he changed pleas and admitted three counts each of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance, two of failing to stop after an accident, plus one of failing to stop for a constable.

In the intervening period Hayden admitted possessing a bladed weapon, again on the day of trial, over an incident in which he was said to have threatened to use a knife he was carrying to “slash up” a man who accused him of breaking into his property, in Crook, in May 2018.

Bowers, of Hutchinson Street, Bishop Auckland, has remained in custody since his arrest over the third driving matter, in October 2018.

Umza Khan, mitigating, said at the time of the driving matters he was homeless and effectively living in the vehicles he was caught driving.

But she said while in custody he has remained clear of alcohol and drugs and “positively matured”, particularly since the birth of a child.

Judge Jonathan Carroll questioned why Bowers was released following the first driving incident, which allowed him to go on to commit the further two offences.

He imposed a prison sentence of three years and two weeks, and banned Bowers from driving for 54 months.