Sunderland car thief rammed police car and fled across golf course during chase

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A SUNDERLAND man who travelled to Durham City to steal cars has been jailed.

John Campbell deliberately drove into a police car and was arrested after fleeing across a golf course, Durham Crown Court heard.

The court was told that the Vauxhall car which he was driving had been stolen in Stockton a few days earlier and was fitted with false plates. He was spotted trying to steal a Nissan in Newton Hall, in Durham City.

Jonathan Devlin, prosecuting, said: “There was a short pursuit along the A690 before Campbell executed a handbrake turn, leaving him facing the patrol car.”

The court heard Campbell drove into the police car twice, then lost control of the Vauxhall and fled on foot across Durham City Golf Club.

Campbell, 45, of Osbourne Road, Fulwell, admitted dangerous driving, attempted theft, and driving with excess alcohol, all in February last year.

Stephen Duffield, defending, said: “Much water has passed under the bridge since these offences. He has been given a suspended sentence for other offences and has been complying with its conditions.

“Mr Campbell has been assessed as having a depressive illness which worsened after a distressing separation from his partner.

“He is now living with his son, has kept out of trouble for some time, and is working as a roofer.”

Jailing Campbell for 17 months, the Recorder, Peter Makepeace, told him: “You posed a grave danger to those police officers, and to any other road users who were about at the time.

“I accept you have made progress since that day, but you have an appalling record for driving offences and theft.”

Campbell was disqualified from driving for three years and must take an extended test if he wishes to drive again.