A DRINK driver panicked and drove off when police attempted to pull him over after spotting he had no rear lights switched on when he was almost involved in a collision.

Shaun Patterson suffered a tyre blow out and was driving on the metal rim by the time he stopped for police after he left the A19 and merged onto the A66 near Thornaby.

When officers spoke to the 49-year-old they suspected he had being driving under the influence of alcohol and he failed a breathalyser test, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Omar Ahmad, prosecuting, said the short police pursuit happened at around 7.40pm last March when they activated their blue lights after seeing another vehicle have to take evasive action due to Patterson not having his lights on.

He said: "The car stopped on the main carriageway and the officers noticed that the tyre was shredded and running on the metal rim.

"When the officers approached the defendant accelerated away driving at 30-40mph.

"The defendant drove onto the A66 at such a speed that the tyre became detached from the wheel and made its own way along the dual carriageway."

Mr Ahmad said the level of alcohol in Patterson's blood at the time of his arrest was 103 microgrammes – the legal limit is 80 microgrammes.

He added the defendant became agitated and was uncooperative with the police officers at the scene.

The court heard the defendant has 27 previous convictions for 65 offences.

Patterson, of Cambridge Avenue, Willington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and drink driving following the incident on March 11 last year.

Stephen Hammill, mitigating, said his client was an alcoholic and accepted that he had drank two pints of lager on the night he was arrested.

He said: "He suffered a blow out and he just panicked. He says he was in a complete fluster and panicked. His behaviour on that night cannot be described as compliant.

"He had drank two pints of lager and was an alcoholic – he suffered the blow out and just panicked."

Judge Jonathan Carroll said: "You were in no fit state to be driving due to your alcohol consumption. You were driving at 30-40mph an unusually slow speed, again due to you alcohol consumption.

"The police pulled you over when they noticed the rear tyre shredded with the wheel dragging on the road.

"That was the element of dangerous driving."

Patterson was given a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was banned from driving for two years and ordered to carry out an extended test before having his licence returned.

The judge sent the defendant on a 12 month alcohol treatment programme, 30 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and placed on an electronically monitored curfew for three months between 8pm and 8am.