Watch as police chase speeding driver in stolen Porsche through Sunderland city centre

A danger driver who led police on a chase through Sunderland at up to three times the speed limit ‘knowingly and willingly’ put lives in danger, a police officer has said.

Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 4:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 5:20 pm

Michael Podd, 39, drove at an estimated 70mph through 30mph and 20mph areas in a Porsche Boxter, which had been stolen just hours earlier.

Podd and accomplice Darren Stevens were spotted in the stolen vehicle in the early hours of October 3, 2019.

After the chase, the pair abandoned the car and fled on foot – but Police Dog Zeeke helped find them nearby.

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Podd led police on a high speed chase through Sunderland

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Podd, of Brady Street, Sunderland, admitted dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, no insurance and no licence when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court in January.

He also pleaded guilty to unrelated offences of racially aggravated harassment of a doctor and police officer, and assault of an emergency worker.

PC Vicky Lott with Police Dog Zeeke

Detective Constable Neil Swainston, of Northumbria Police, said: “With no licence or insurance, Michael Podd knowingly and willingly endangered the lives of the community and police, as he tore down the streets of Sunderland at alarming speeds and ignored red lights in his bid for freedom.

“His actions in a stolen car sparked a significant emergency service response with officers and the National Police Air Support working together to follow his high-speed movements.

“After abandoning the car, he and his co-accused then made off on foot – and this was yet another case that highlighted the crucial role that our dogs play in detecting crime, locating suspects and keeping the public safe.

“Podd is very fortunate nobody died as a result of his dangerous actions behind the wheel – and I welcome the custodial sentence that has been handed down.”

Stevens, 44, of no fixed abode, had previously admitted stealing the Porsche from a family home on Side Cliff Road in Sunderland while the occupants were asleep.

He pleaded guilty to burglary and aggravated vehicle taking without consent and was subsequently jailed for 936 days and received a 27-month driving ban.

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