A DRUG addict's attempt to escape police after they spotted him driving ended in failure despite trying to drive off with an officer hanging through the car window.

Craig McGee had only been out of prison for a matter of days when he decided to get behind the wheel of his Nissan Note half an hour after taking cocaine.

The 40-year-old driving along Grange Road in Darlington when police tried to pull him over on September 10 last year.

Teesside Crown Court heard how as soon as the officer activated the blue lights on his vehicle McGee put his foot down and tried to speed away.

Joseph Hedworth, prosecuting, said: "The defendant turned the Nissan onto Parkside before immediately accelerating away from the police.

"The officer in pursuit requested assistance and a specialist road traffic officer joined the pursuit. During the course of the pursuit the defendant drove in excess of the speed limit, failed to give way at crossroads and crossed them at speed, undertook another vehicle and crashed his car onto a pavement when taking a corner.

"He was travelling at up to 50mph in a 30mph zone."

Mr Hedworth said the car eventually came to stop on Shakespeare Road and the officers attempted to arrest McGee.

He added: "The officer attempted to recover the keys from the Nissan, however, the defendant immediately reversed while the officer tried to take the keys out of the ignition.

"The officer used an incapacitant spray to stop him driving any further. It was necessary for other officers to become involved because the defendant was actively resisting by refusing to get out of the vehicle.

"Another officer had to discharge his Taser and at that point the defendant was arrested."

When McGee was searched officers found pills and cocaine hidden in his tracksuit bottoms.

During police interview he said he had taken some cocaine 30 minutes before he started driving his car but had initially denied that he had been driving dangerously at the time.

McGee, of Shakespeare Road, Darlington, admitted dangerous driving, possession of cocaine, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and breach of bail when he failed to attend court.

Chris Baker, mitigating, said his client had panicked and tried to get away from the police.

He added: "One of the difficulties has been his lack of recollection of what happened that day. He tried to get away from police as he had drugs in his system and he panicked about that.

"Drugs are the main cause of this man's problems."

Judge Jonathan Carroll told McGee he was lucky that the police officer had not been seriously injured.

He said: "You had been released from custody only a number of days earlier. You immediately returned to your drug use, you were in possession of it when you were detained and by your own admission you had consumed cocaine half an hour before you drove this motor vehicle."

Sentencing McGee to 16 months in prison, the judge added: "This occurred in the centre of Darlington, a residential area, at 4pm at a time when it is highly probable that a whole range of other road users will be out – there would have been other drivers, pedestrians, mothers with their children, and a whole range of other people just going about their daily business, when you chose to drive like an idiot through the centre of town."