A MAN driving a van containing a suspect wanted for other offences sped off when police signalled for him to stop, a court was told.

Dennis Burdon was at the wheel of a van, which was registered in his name, that was spotted by police in Durham, at 12.40pm on June 4, last year.

Durham Crown Court heard that what became a high-speed pursuit began after Burdon ignored the police patrol driver’s request to pull over.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, said: “It goes without saying the speed alome was a very dangerous thing to do in a built up city centre.

Mr Abrahams said the van was seen to take roundabouts in the wrong directions, flout red lights and other traffic signals and mount the pavement before driving over grass verges.

The van came to a halt in the nearby village of Witton Gilbert before Burdon and his passenger decamped and tried to flee on foot through nearby woodland.

Mr Abrahams said the other male, was detained close to the scene, while Burdon was arrested later.

When interviewed the 26-year-old defendant, of Henry Avenue, Pelton Fell, made admissions and went on to plead guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance.

The court heard he has 20 convictions for 29 offences, including motoring misdemeanours.

Mr Abrahams said this was Burdon’s fourth offence of driving while disqualified.

Helen Towers, mitigating, told the court: “Fortunately there was no injury or damage to any property in this case and he was apprehended.

“He went on to make full admissions in his first interview.”

Judge James Adkin told Burdon the “harm” in the case was the potential risk to road-users and pedestrians, particularly in the city centre at that time, taking roundabouts the wrong way, going through red lights and over footpaths.

He passed a 15-month prison sentence and further banned Burdon from driving for 19-and-a-half months after which he must take an extended re-test to be lawfully allowed to drive.