A DANGER driver who led police on a high-speed car chase before ploughing into two parked cars was found to be in possession of a knuckleduster.

Lewis Williams, of Derwent Road, Ferryhill, had a previous conviction for dangerous driving and was imprisoned for eight months and disqualified from driving.

Despite being banned, he decided to drive from Ferryhill to Middlesbrough in his father's car on September 24 this year 'to clear his head'.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, having no insurance, and being in possession of an offensive weapon when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said officers had spotted Williams in the Pallister Park area of Middlesbrough driving a Peugeot at about 70mph in a 30mph zone.

She said the vehicle was 'unable to hold a straight line', mounted a pavement and when police deployed their blue lights, it 'appeared to speed up' before colliding with a parked car, which shunted forwards and hit another parked car.

"The driver tried to run off," she said. "There was something of a struggle with the officers."

They pepper sprayed Williams, 25, but it had no effect, and he eventually had to be struck and handcuffed by the officers.

Kelleigh Lodge, defending, said: "He has been struggling to come to terms with the death of his father. Unfortunately on the day in question he had the news that his nephew had been rushed into hospital and he made a stupid decision to drive.

"His main concern has been how his mother is going to cope with him receiving a prison sentence today."

Judge Jim Spencer said: "For some unexplained reason you drove all the way from Ferryhill in a car you had no right to drive. When the police saw you and didn't like the way you were driving and started to follow you, you didn't like that either and you tried to drive away in a dangerous way and ended up crashing into two cars.

"Then you had a knuckleduster and claim you don't know how it got there. It is all very very strange to me."

The knuckleduster had been found in Williams' pocket.

Judge Spencer questioned Miss Lodge for the reason Williams had made the 'stupid decision' to drive that night.

But he could not give a reasonable explanation, saying: "I don't know. I just needed some headspace."

She said he had received a brain injury in an accident when he was 13, leading to memory loss.

And he had been affected by the tragic death of his father last year.

Judge Spencer handed him a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a three-year driving ban.