A banned driver took police on a high-speed chase through a busy town centre after police tried to pull him over after he was spotted behind the wheel.

Police tried to block in George Scaife when he was parked at traffic lights but he managed to squeeze through a gap and speed off in his Mercedes car.

Footage of the pursuit, through Darlington, was played at Teesside Crown Court when the 23-year-old was sentenced for a number of driving offences.

Scaife reached speeds of 80mph as he overtook cars on the wrong side of the road and sped through red lights as he tried to evade arrest on November 16 last year.

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Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said the defendant was spotted in central Darlington at aboiut 2.45pm when he sped off taking police on a two-minute-long chase past a school and through at least one red light before abandoning the car.

She said: “The car was driven on the wrong side of the road. He drove through red lights without trying to slow down.

“After passing a children’s play area he headed onto Haughton Road and reached speeds of up to 80mph, again overtaking cars on the wrong side of the road.

“He braked heavily and drive into a car park at the rear of chip shop before trying to escape on foot.”

When Scaife was arrested he was found to be four times over the legal limit for driving with cocaine in his system.

Scaife, of Whiley Hill, Darlington, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving over the proscribed drug drive limit for cocaine, and driving with no insurance.

Tabitha Buck, mitigating, said her client had stayed out of trouble since his arrest almost a year ago and his partner was now two-months pregnant.

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She added: “He understands the seriousness of his behaviour and understands it crosses the threshold for custody – he has brought a bag with him - and accepts his behaviour was extremely foolish.”

Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe KC sentenced to 30 weeks in prison suspended for two years for his dangerous driving.

He said: “You gave no thought to others and it is only a matter of luck that nobody else was injured.”

Scaife was ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also banned from driving for 18 months.