A DRINK driver who took police on a high-speed chase at night without having his headlights switched on has jailed for two years.

James Luke McStravick took the keys from the Toyota from a house he was visiting before heading out in the early hours of the morning whilst heavily under the influence of alcohol.

The 24-year-old was spotted driving erratically near Darlington town centre by a concerned member of the public and when police arrived in the area he pulled out in front of them before driving off.

Teesside Crown Court heard how he was chased through the streets of the town where he reached speeds in excess of 60mph in a 30mph zone while clipping parked vehicles, driving on the wrong side of the road and speeding over a traffic island.

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said the defendant caused serious damage to the car which belonged to Home Care, a company that looks after elderly or sick people in their own home.

The police chase came to an abrupt end when the car lost a tyre while he was speeding along Skerne Way.

He told the police he had drank a bottle of gin and taken Diazepam.

McStravick, of Lismore Drive, Darlington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, driving without insurance, driving whilst disqualified and aggravated vehicle taking following the police chase on November 28 last year.

Mark Styles, mitigating, said: "He has let himself down badly and is starting to get a record for this kind of offending."

He said his client was going to have to 'sort out' his drug and alcohol problem.

Sentencing him to two years in custody, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: "You committed all of these offences when you were significantly over the drink drive limit."

As he banned him from driving for three years and ten months, the judge added: "This is a very bad example of drink driving."