JUSTICE has caught up with a dangerous driver who took police on two high speed chases within a matter of months.

Jake Ward reached speeds of up to 100mph and avoided the police’s attempt to bring him to a halt with a Stinger.

The 24-year-old was spotted driving out of Darlington town centre without the lights on in his Mercedes in the early hours of the morning last June.

A pursuit ensued after the police car attempted to pull over ward as he raced along Northgate before heading along Whessoe Road at speeds in excess of 65mph.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that Ward raced around rear alleys before heading back onto the A167 and speeding off towards Newton Aycliffe.

He said: "He went through a red light at a junction and has sped through another red light at speeds of up to 100mph on the wrong side of the road."

The court heard how another team of police officers deployed a Stinger to stop Ward in his tracks but he managed to avoid it. His car was later found abandoned in Newton Aycliffe.

Mr Soppitt added: "Days later he had the audacity to come to the police station and ask for his car back."

The second charge related to a similar incident on October 30 last year in another Mercedes.

Mr Soppitt said police were looking for the defendant's car following an earlier crash and spotted his car parked at McDonald's in Bishop Auckland.

They attempted to block him in but he sped off and went the wrong way around a roundabout, hitting speeds of up 88mph for more than three minutes.

Mr Soppitt said the police were forced to give up their pursuit but the following day he handed himself into police.

The court heard how Ward was banned from driving on September 27 for six months under the 'totting' up process.

Ward, of Welbeck Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to two charges of dangerous driving, one of driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to stop for the police.

Peter Hamill, in mitigation, said his client had been experiencing personal problems at the time of the incidents.

He said: "The defendant had the good sense to hand himself in and admitted both offences; following these admissions he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity at the magistrates' court.

"He accepts that the standard of his driving was appalling and it is fortunate that nobody was injured in these incidents."

Mr Hamill urged the judge to be lenient as Ward's partner was 14 weeks' pregnant.

Judge Paul Watson QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, told Ward he had been driving like a 'maniac' and put people's lives at risk in the June incident.

"You were fishtailing around the road, no doubt because of the insufficient tread on your tyres," he said. "The police's use of a Stinger didn't stop you."

Ward was jailed for a total of six months for all offences and banned from driving for 18 months.