A MAN with a bag of drugs in his car drove off at speed as a police officer attempted to cling to the door in a bid to remove the ignition key, a court heard.

The officer lost grip and fell to the ground, suffered grazing to the palm, knee and elbow, but managed to radio colleagues asking them to look out for the grey Vauxhall Astra, driven by defendant Lee Dobbie.

Durham Crown Court was told another officer, on motor patrol, spotted the Astra travelling from the scene of the earlier incident, in Perkinsville, near Chester-le-Street, towards Urpeth Grange Estate.

Jonathan Harley, prosecuting, said the police vehicle pulled over the Astra and, after appearing to come to a halt, it was then driven off dangerously down Greenford Lane.

Turning onto a road approaching a farm, the Astra collided with a low wall.

Dobbie was seen emerging from the car carrying a red laundry bag, clambering over the wall heading into woodland.

Mr Harley said, uncertain if he may be armed, the officer drew his taser stun gun and “red-dotted” Dobbie, who he found hiding in undergrowth.

He complied with the officer and was arrested, telling him he threw the bag over a fence.

Other officers arriving at the scene retrieved the bag, containing bags of cannabis bush.

Dobbie’s wallet was searched and police found two bags of white powder, plus £500 in cash.

The recovered bags of cannabis, divided into single gram deals, carried a sale value of between £12,400 and £16,400, but it was more likely it would be sold to others to deal at street level.

Mr Harley told the court that the officer injured in the initial incident went to Dobbie’s address, in Front Street, Perkinsville, to a report of a domestic incident, but Dobbie fled from the back door and got into his car with the officer in pursuit.

Mr Harley added that his injuries could have been much worse in the circumstances.

Dobbie, 38, admitted assaulting the officer causing actual bodily harm, dangerous driving, possessing criminal property and both class A and B drugs, all committed on May 23, 2019.

Jane Waugh, mitigating, said the defendant was so concerned at getting away from the scene that he hardly registered the police officer’s presence.

Judge Ray Singh indicated at the plea hearing that he may not impose an immediate prison sentence if Dobbie accepted his guilt and complied with the Probation Service.

The judge said, having read the probation report, that there appeared to be an element of “minimising” his offending.

Judge Singh said he almost regretted making the comments at the plea hearing, but, “as a man of my word”, he kept his pledge to Dobbie to suspend the 24-month sentence by two years.

Dobbie, who was also banned from driving for two years, must attend 30-probation-led rehabilitation activity day sessions.

Judge Singh warned Dobbie should he miss one session without good cause, he would impose the jail sentence.