A MAN who led police on a lengthy chase in the early hours, risking the safety of other road users, has received a 14-month prison sentence.

Antony Troy Jones was at the wheel of a Fiat Punto which came to police attention as it briefly was driven without lights in Spennymoor town centre, at 12.55am on Friday November 20, 2020.

Durham Crown Court heard that despite being signalled to stop, Jones carried on, “for some considerable distance”, continuing to ignore police efforts to pull over.

Esmond Faulks, prosecuting, said the Punto was clocked at speeds of 70 and 80-miles per hour in residential areas, ignoring red traffic lights, and at one point collided with the front of a police vehicle.

Jones carried on despite efforts to force him into the central reservation and drove down Framwelgate Peth towards Durham city centre, in the wrong carriageway, before crossing Milburngate Bridge.

Mr Faulks said the prolonged pursuit only came to an end when Jones tried to take a right-hand bend on Coalford Lane, Pittington, and police were able to force him to a halt against a dry-stone wall.

Jones tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine in his system, while there was no current driving licence or valid insurance in place to permit him to have been driving.

He made no comment when police attempted to interview him.

Mr Faulks said the view of police was that it was, “only good fortune” that there was little traffic on the road at the time, as otherwise a collision would have been considered, “an inevitability”.

Jones, 29, of Station Road East, Trimdon Station, admitted dangerous driving and drug driving, plus driving without insurance or a licence.

Read more: County Durham man denies dangerous driving in police chase

Martin Scarborough, for Jones, told the court: “I fully accept the dangerousness of what he did and the danger he put himself, the police and other road users in.”

Mr Scarborough said the defendant “absented himself” during proceedings by going to Birmingham, where his ex-partner was living, and was made subject of an arrest warrant.

He said the defendant has had difficulties with drugs and mental health issues, while he has found the previous two weeks, on remand, difficult, but he is trying to engage with the substance misuse service available to him in custody.

Judge James Adkin told the defendant that, other than a 2012 conviction, “he was effectively a man of good character”, but he said that during the course of the chase he performed some, “exceptionally dangerous manoeuvres”, often at, “gravely excessive speed”, over a prolonged distance.

He imposed a 14-month sentence and banned Jones from driving for 19 months.

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