Illegal driver sparked early morning police chase in Sunderland while on the way to a job interview
A learner driver who sparked a police chase on his way to an interview has kept his freedom - but lost the job.
Daniel Ferguson, who had just a provisional licence, was spotted by police behind the wheel of a VW Polo on the A1290 in Washington before six in the morning on October 9 last year.
Newcastle Crown Court the 20-year-old, who had been "keen" to get to his destination, drove off when officers tried to pull him over and only brought the vehicle to a halt after a pursuit that reached Grindon in Sunderland.
By then he had gone through red lights, exceeded speed limits and caused other vehicles to take evasive action to avoid a collision with him.
Ferguson, of Saint Ignatius Close, Sunderland, who has never been in trouble before, admitted dangerous driving, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence and having no insurance.
Judge Julie Clemitson told him: "You somewhat foolishly bought yourself a car before you were able to drive it legally and set about driving it, without supervision, L plates or insurance.
"It was around 5.45am and you were, to your credit, trying to achieve training or placement with an employer. You were keen to get there.
"Unfortunately you panicked."
The judge told him: "You drove through an industrial estate, drove through red lights, narrowly missed an HGV, contravened red lights at a major junction so as other cars had to take evasive action, you drove around a residential estate at excessive speed, you drove around corners at speed, which caused your vehicle to become unstable."
The court heard despite the bad driving, no damage or injury was caused.
Ferguson's car has now been seized by the police.
Judge Clemitson sentenced him to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months with 150 hours unpaid work and a 12 month driving ban with extended test requirement.
The court heard Ferguson has accepted he was "immensely foolish" and his barrister said: "He was concerned for his job, concerned he would lose his car.
"He made one bad decision after another and he has lost his job and he has lost his car."