Prison term for motor menace

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A MOTORING menace has been jailed and banned from the region’s roads.

Alan Frank Longstaff faced a raft of charges when he appeared before Durham Crown Court, including driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, driving while unfit through drugs.

He also breached a conditional discharge imposed for previous motoring offences.

The court was told that on June 24 last year, the already-banned 24-year-old was spotted in the driving seat of a silver Peugeot car by officers on patrol in Caroline Street, Hetton.

Prosecutor Ros Scott Bell said one of the policemen thought Longstaff looked like he was under the influence of drink or drugs.

The car sped off to the Eppleton and Broomhill areas of the village and headed into an open field.

Ms Scott Bell said: “The defendant was seen to run from the driver’s side and the officers have given chase.

“It was a police dog which apprehended the defendant trying to climb over a fence.”

Blood tests later revealed drugs, including cocaine, were in Longstaff’s system.

When interviewed, he claimed he had not been driving the car and blamed another man.

On October 4, a police officer recognised him as a banned driver sitting in a Ford Escort in Station Road, Easington Colliery.

It sped off into Allan Street. Two men got out the car, which kept moving and crashed in to a wall at the back of a house.

A police helicopter was launched and Longstaff was found a short distance away. The passenger was also traced.

The court was told Longstaff has motoring convictions dating back to 2003.

Judge Christopher Prince sentenced Longstaff, previously of Seaham and now of Commercial Street, Ferryhill, to a three-year driving ban and a total of 16 months in prison.

For the June 24 offences he was given four months for driving while disqualified, and one for driving while unfit through drugs, to run concurrently.

For the October 4 incident, when he also breached a condition discharge given for driving during a ban, he was ordered to serve four months for driving whilst disqualified, and eight consecutive for dangerous driving, to run consecutively.

No separate penalties were given for driving without insurance on either occasion.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham