A banned driver who led police on a half-hour chase down the A1(M) in a Ford Transit van is starting a four-year prison sentence.

Durham Crown Court heard that Keenan Flowers refused all efforts to persuade him to stop as he travelled at 70-miles per hour in an erratic manner.

Several police vehicles were involved in attempts to stop the van, as it swerved from side-to-side without any lights illuminated until it was said to be rendered, "undriveable", after passing over a police-laid stinger trye deflator, at about 11pm, on Wednesday August 10, last year.

Flowers crossed from lane to lane and into the hard shoulder, narrowly missing other vehicles and, at one point, collided with the central reservation.

Read more: Sheffield man to stand trial after County Durham A1(M) police chase

Ian West, prosecuting, said Flowers deliberately attempted to collide with some of the police vehicles, and at times lowered his speed so much that he was able to be identified as the driver by officers involved in the chase.

He also left the A1(M) at a junction, before driving the wrong way around a roundabout at the foot of a slip road.

Mr West said Flowers then headed back onto the A1(M) and, despite travelling over the stinger tyre deflation device, carried on, until the van was unable to be driven any further.

Upon his arrest he spat at a police officer, leaving blood-stained spittle on his leg and lower right arm.

The court was told the pursuit began at Burtree interchange, junction 58, near Darlington, and ended near Baldersby-St-James, junction 50, in North Yorkshire.

Thirty-five-year-old Flowers, of Sharrow Lane, Sheffield, denied charges of dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and assaulting an emergency worker.

He claimed he was not the driver of the van during the pursuit or of having clothing matching what the driver was said to have been wearing at the time.

Following a three-day trial at the court he was found guilty of all three offences on January 20.

Read more: Banned driver chased by police on roads through County Durham village

Sentence was adjourned as Flowers faced other matters at Sheffield Crown Court the following week.

Those included a road rage incident after he shunted into another vehicle in Sheffield and then threw two punches, which failed to land on target, in a confrontation with the other driver involved, before again spitting at a police officer upon arrest.

He was also in breach of a suspended prison sentence imposed in April last year, following a previous prison assault with a makeshift weapon at HMP Doncaster.

Benjamin Bell, in mitigation, said the defendant had fared well on the community element of the suspended sentence, imposed last April, successfully completing unpaid work hours.

Mr Bell said there had been a gap in his client’s offending prior to the offending of the last year or so, and that coincided with him gaining employment.

But while back in prison on remand awaiting sentence for the most recent offences he has regained his previous "trusted" status, helping first-time inmates with inductions.

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Passing sentence for all matters, Judge Jo Kidd said the defendant has, “a terrible list of convictions for driving matters”, and she imposed a two-year sentence for the offences arising from the A1(M) chase, last August.

She also added a further two years for the offences sent from Sheffield Crown Court, including part of the suspended prison sentence, but made them consecutive to each other, giving a total jail term of 48 months, of which the defendant must serve half behind bars and the remainder on licence.

Flowers was also banned from driving for a total of 47 months.