A MAN responsible for two “shocking and dangerous” examples of driving only a month apart earlier this year is beginning a 28-month prison sentence.

Conner Ryan was involved in two police chases, in one travelling the wrong way down a stretch of the A1(M), while a passenger filmed his dangerous antics at the wheel.

Durham Crown Court heard that both took place only months after Ryan completed his post-sentence licence period following a three-year sentence imposed for a carjacking robbery, committed in Darlington, in 2018.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said in the first incident, on March 12, Ryan was at the wheel of a mud-covered Suzuki Grand Vitara, bearing no registration plate, with no lights illuminated, which came to police attention in Dean Road, Ferryhill, at 1.15am.

Ryan ignored police signals to stop and travelled at high speed through the town Market Place, and southbound on the A167, at 70-miles per hour.

Mr Dryden said other police vehicles took up the pursuit and officers noticed Ryan’s passenger appeared to be filming as he went into a filling station and turned back in a northward direction, on the A167.

Read more: Driver carjacked by Darlington pair high on drugs

The Vitara was driven over a police-laid ‘stinger’ at one stage, but, despite the tyres slowly deflating, Ryan carried on at speed, driving at 50-mph on a 30-stretch of road in the wrong carriageway.

Ryan crossed a grass central reservation and travelled eastbound towards junction 60 of the A1(M), entering with still no lights illuminated, heading south on the northbound carriageway, at which point police decided it was too dangerous to maintain the pursuit.

Mr Dryden said at the next slip road police entered the A1(M) and made the decision to end the chase by making “tactical contact” with the Vitara.

Following contact, Ryan jumped into the back seat, where he was arrested.

When interviewed he made no replies and was released, “under investigation”.

But a month later he became involved in another police pursuit, while driving a Mitsubishi Outlander, in the Darlington area, at 2.40am on April 13.

He reached speeds of between 70 and 80-mph in 30-limit residential streets.

Mr Dryden said having left Darlington, the chase came to an end when, on a sweeping left-hand bend, at Great Burdon, the Mitsubishi went into a 180-degree spin and mounted a footpath.

Several males emerged, and Ryan left by the driver’s side door, before being chased and arrested.

He gave a positive breath test for alcohol, but again made no reply to questioning.

Appearing at a crown court plea hearing, via video link from HMP Durham, however, the 23-year-old defendant, of Hammond Drive, Darlington, admitted two counts each of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance.

He also admitted a single count of drink driving.

Kate Barnes, in mitigation, said: “Beginning at the age of 14 he has developed an unenviable list of offences until he received that long sentence, (three years), in 2018 for robbery.

“On his release he’s set about trying to improve his lifestyle, but he describes these two offences as, 'terrible mistakes’.

“There was an element of mixing with the wrong people, but he takes full responsibility.

Judge Ray Singh told him: “I have heard from Miss Barnes in mitigation and also had access to earlier pre-sentence reports for past offences.

Miss Barnes said you are 'extremely sorry'.

“These were deliberate acts of driving dangerously on two separate occasions when you should not even have been driving.

“These are not, I’m afraid, ‘mistakes’.

“You are prepared to place yourself in serious jeopardy, getting arrested and going into custody and the only person you do feel sorry for is yourself.

“If ever there is a case meriting a starting point close to the maximum, this offence on March 12 would be one.”

The judge described the manner of Ryan’s driving as, “shocking and dangerous”, in one case to such an extent that the police aborted the chase.

“You have demonstrated you are someone who is not prepared to abide by any sort of court order.”

He imposed a total 28-month sentence, of 15 and 13 months, consecutively, and banned Ryan from driving for a total of six years and two months.

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