See danger driver race from police at over THREE TIMES the speed limit in stolen Porsche in Sunderland city centre

A danger driver with no licence sparked a "dangerous" city centre police chase in a high performance sports car that had been stolen in a burglary.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 6:02 pm

Michael Podd was spotted behind the wheel of a stolen yellow Porsche in the early hours of the morning and sped off when he noticed officers were on his tail.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the Northumbria Police force helicopter was drafted into try and stop the 39-year-old, who drove at an estimated 70mph through 30mph and 20mph areas in Sunderland.

Podd eventually dumped the luxury motor, which had suffered damage after it was stolen and resulted in it being written-off.

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Michael Podd was spotted behind the wheel of a stolen yellow Porsche in the early hours of the morning and sped off when he noticed officers were on his tail.

Prosecutor Stuart Graham told the court Podd was seen driving the stolen motor in the early hours of October 3 and added: "The defendant went through red traffic lights, drove on the wrong side of the road.

"The pursuit lasted quite a distance, it goes on for about five minutes.

"The police helicopter was directing the police vehicle towards the stolen vehicle.

"The police vehicle at times couldn't keep up with the car, not least perhaps because of it being a high performance sports car.

"They lost sight of the vehicle but were able to be directed by the air support unit to the right area to pick up the chase."

The court heard after Podd dumped the car he was found hiding under a potting bench and told officers he had done "nothing wrong".

Podd, of Brady Street, Sunderland, later admitted dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, having no insurance and no licence.

He also pleaded guilty to unrelated offences of assaulting a police officer and racially aggravated harassment of a doctor and a police officer at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

The court heard Podd had been put into a police van outside his home last January and kicked a cage door of the vehicle into an officer's face, causing bruising.

Podd, who claimed to have taken tablets, was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where he warned a doctor "I will bite your throat clean out" and hurled vile racist abuse at the medic and another police officer who tried to assist him.

The doctor said in a victim statement: "I go to work to help people and do not expect, when helping someone, to be subject to racial abuse.

"I found this incident distressing and unacceptable."

Judge Christopher Prince sentenced Podd to 18 months behind bars with a 21-month road ban.

The judge said Podd's driving was a "typical, frightening and highly dangerous pursuit through the city centre at night" and added: "Such was the concern that a helicopter was used to try and stop you from putting people's lives at risk in the way you were doing."

Judge Prince said Podd appeared to be "absolutely wild" during the hospital offences and added: "The pubic rely on emergency workers and the one thing emergency workers must be able to expect of the courts, which the public would expect of the courts, is that those who behave in such a way receive punishment and it deters others from acting in such a way."

Fiona Lamb, defending, said Podd has completed courses while in custody on remand and has been employed serving meals to prisoners suffering from coronavirus.

Miss Lamb said prisoners are not allowed to leave their cells and have no visitors during the pandemic.

She added: "He has seen people who have died from it, there are a number of live cases on the wing, which is clearly a concern for him."

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