A WHITE van driver whose vehicle was bearing false number plates reverse rammed police vehicles pursuing him four times during a seven-minute chase, a court heard.

Banned driver John Dean Hall drove at “grossly excessive speed”, flouting a number of traffic regulations and endangering other road users while trying to outrun police between Peterlee and Easington Colliery, in the incident on Tuesday October 13.

Durham Crown Court heard that police on motor patrol in Peterlee identified Hall driving a Ford Transit van, bearing false plates, travelling at excessive speed, on Burnhope Way, on Tuesday October 13.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said the police vehicle began following, and its lights and siren were activated signalling to Hall to stop.

The van came to a halt on Essington Way and Hall was clearly seen at the wheel, before he pulled away again, flouting a red light at temporary traffic lights.

Mr Sabiston said Hall twice stopped the van and reversed trying to disable the police vehicle, before making off, again, on Essington Way, accelerating above the 30-miles per hour limit.

Turning onto Acre Rigg Road, he broke and reversed into the police car for the third time.

Hall again pulled away, making another reverse ram attempt, but a second police vehicle joined the pursuit trying to pen in the van.

Travelling at 50-mph in a 30-limit area he reached traffic lights approaching the A19, went the wrong way around a roundabout, and headed onto the A19 and on the wrong side of the road on the A182 to Easington Village.

Mr Sabiston said the van reached 90-mph at one stage on the 30-restricted Seaside Lane, entering Easington Colliery, travelled over a grass verge and collided with a terraced house.

Hall jumped from the van but was arrested after a short chase on foot and made no comment when questioned.

Appearing at a plea hearing at the court, via video link from Durham Prison, where he has been on remand, the 32-year-old defendant, of Hawthorn Street, Easington Colliery, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance.

The court heard he has appeared for 44 offences at 22 previous court hearings, including several motoring matters dating from convictions for excess alcohol and aggravated vehicle taking, in 2011.

Mr Sabiston said Hall’s most recent previous convictions were for driving while disqualified in January and August last year.

Lewis Kerr, in mitigation, conceded his client has, “a poor record for driving offences”, many stemming from his struggle to find work since the time he left the Army in the late 2000s.

He said Hall has tried to operate a mobile scrap metal business, leading to, “a cycle of convictions, that will have to stop.”

Mr Kerr added that Hall will have to grasp the nettle and obtain a licence to enable him to legitimately find a living for his family.

Judge James Adkin said the harm caused in this case was, “the risk of serious injury, or even death, to the police officers, members of the public and other road users.”

Imposing a 16-month prison sentence, he also banned Hall from driving for a further 26 months.