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‘Panicked’ and uninsured Sunderland danger driver fled from police after buying drugs

A ‘panicked’ Sunderland man drove dangerously from police in fear he would be collared for not having insurance – and after buying drugs.

By Gareth Crickmer
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 4:55 am

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Daniel Watson’s attempted escape on Yewtree Avenue, Marley Potts, saw him come close to hitting police cars heading towards him.

Watson, 30, of Keswick Avenue, Fullwell, fled when officers attempted to pull him over on Saturday, March 26, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.

In footage played to the court, he was seen driving his Ford Focus away from them – but barely breaking the 30mph speed limit, his solicitor claimed.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

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He was arrested after a brief chase and has now been handed an interim driving ban – and warned he could be jailed when sentenced.

Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said: “The guidelines are clear that a prolonged period of bad driving, in a built-up area while being pursued by police, should go to the crown court.

“The initial part of the footage shows the defendant failing to stop for officers, though he did initially pull over.

“While it seems a lower level of dangerous driving, it’s the footage later on that the crown would say was the most dangerous.

“What you see is officers having to take evasive action in the opposite direction because the defendant almost collides with them.

“It was a deliberate disregard for others. This was a residential area, in daylight hours while there were other road users, and possibly pedestrians.”

Watson pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance, driving without a licence, failing to stop, possession of cocaine and possession of diazepam.

Jason Smith, defending, urged magistrates not to send Watson to Newcastle Crown Court for sentencing.

He said: “He made off from police because he panicked because he didn’t have insurance and had just purchased drugs.

“This is a man who works and feared he would lose his job. He doesn’t at any time collide with anyone.

“He moves around the police officers, and when he comes to stop, he hasn’t interfered with anyone.”

Magistrates agreed to retain the case for sentencing but ordered an all-options report, meaning jail is possible.

Watson, who has no previous convictions, will be sentenced at the same court on Monday, June 20.