A Darlington man who took police on a high-speed chase through the town was arrested when he eventually gave up his attempt to avoid capture.

James McStravick ‘panicked’ when he saw police activate their blue lights as he was over the drink-drive limit and was not entitled to drive a works van, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 25-year-old was spotted speeding on the outskirts of Darlington and initially pulled over but when the two officers got out of their police vehicle, he sped away towards Beaumont Hill and towards the town centre.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said McStravick reached speeds of almost 60mph in a 40mph zone before maintaining that speed despite entering a 30mph zone along Salters Lane.

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He told the court that he then drove past the education village before eventually conceding defeat and pulling over in the Hundens Lane area of the town.

Mr Soppitt said at one point the police pulled alongside the defendant but he started to swerve towards them in the van causing them to drop back.

He added: “He stopped of his own volition. He was taken from the vehicle and was arrested while wrestling with the officers.

“It took three officers to eventually arrest him.”

A breathalyser test showed he was more than twice the drink-drive limit.

McStravick, of Morley Court, Darlington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, resisting arrest, driving with excess alcohol, and driving without insurance.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said her client was no longer working for the company which the van belonged to and was working voluntarily on his step-grandmother’s sheep farm.

She added: “He bitterly regrets his actions and panicked when he saw the police activate their blue lights.”

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Recorder Marco Giuliani sentenced McStravick to a two-year community order and banned him from driving for 18-months.

He said: “It was whilst you were driving the van whilst over the legal limit and you caught the attention of the police when you were driving in excess of the speed limit.

“You pulled over but then sped off when the police officers approached you – no doubt because you realised you were over the drink-drive limit.”

McStravick was also ordered to attend 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and perform 200 hours of unpaid work.