A HIGH-SPEED police chase was triggered by the slow driving of a late-night motorist on a quiet city centre road, a court heard.

Two police patrol drivers became suspicious at the slow speed a Ford Focus was being driven over Milburngate Bridge, on the A690 in Durham, at 12.22am on April 4 last year.

Durham Crown Court was told as it was early into the first lockdown there were few cars about, so the officers began to follow as the Focus turned off the A690 onto the A181 on Gilesgate Bank.

The blue lights of the lead police vehicle were illuminated, but the Focus speeded up, travelling at up to 70-miles per hour.

Annelise Haugstad, prosecuting, said it veered into the wrong side of the road, overtook another vehicle still at 70-mph on Sunderland Road, and went over a traffic island at 80-mph

The Focus then turned left into Macintosh Court, and drove around various residential streets on Sunderland Road Estate, Gilesgate, all with 30-limits, at 60 and 70-mph.

Turning into Annand Road, it pulled up at the roadside and driver Robert Edward Hall fled trying to make for a house.

During a brief foot chase an officer warned Hall he had a taser.

Miss Haugstad said Hall stopped running and was handcuffed, before being arrested.

The defendant was found to be over the limit to drive for both cannabis and amphetamines.

Miss Haugstad said he had neither a licence or insurance.

When interviewed, he said he took his mother’s car keys and went for a ride in the car even though she had not given him permission to drive.

Hall, 34, of Annand Road, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, two counts of driving over the specified limit for drugs, plus driving without insurance or licence.

His record was said to include past motoring offences.

Martin Scarborough, in mitigation, said the early lockdown proved a difficult time for Hall, who was living apart from his partner, at his mother’s home.

He was using cannabis at the time and, “took the foolish decision” to take his mother’s car for a drive without her permission, “to get out of the house.”

Judge James Adkin said the harm was the risk posed to other road users by Hall due to the manner of his driving.

Passing a 14-month prison sentence, the judge also banned him from driving for three years and seven months.