A dangerous driver who tried to evade police at high speed was later found hiding inside a filing cabinet.
Scott Lee, of Belfield Road, Accrington, was spotted by police driving a ‘distinctive’ Vauxhall Astra in Huncoat without a seatbelt and then ‘made off at speed’ when they tried to follow him.
Burnley Crown Court heard Lee drove on the wrong side of the road, mounted a pavement to avoid a police car and two women ran to get out of his way at a railway crossing.
The apprentice engineer was later found hiding inside a filing cabinet in the grounds of a commercial unit near Towneley Avenue.
Lee, 19, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and using a car without insurance and an MOT certificate.
He was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay £150 costs and carry out 100 hours unpaid work.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said the incident happened at around lunchtime on January 23 this year.
The court heard how the police officer’s attention was drawn to Lee’s car because of its ‘distinctive blacked out windows and a custom made exhaust making a lot of noises’.
Mr Parker said the officer tried to follow Lee’s car along Bolton Avenue after he spotted him not wearing a seat belt, however Lee sped off and was ‘travelling so fast that it went onto the wrong side of the road’.
The court heard how the officer was ‘concerned for the safety of members of the public’ and tried to follow Lee ‘from a safe distance behind’ but quickly lost him.
Mr Parker told the court how when Lee later saw the officer on Alder Grove he mounted the pavement to go around him and then headed along Station Road.
The prosecutor said Lee’s car went over the Huncoat railway crossing ‘at such speed that the bottom of the car connected with the level crossing and sparks came up and two women near the crossing ran to get out of the car’s way’.
The court was told that pursuit police drivers were called to help hunt down Lee and his abandoned car was found nearby.
Mr Parker said Lee was found hiding inside a filing cabinet and when interviewed by police he apologised to officers for ‘driving like an idiot’.
'You are 19. You are a man. Start behaving like one' - Judge
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told Lee: “You panicked when the police spotted you, you knew you shouldn’t have been driving that vehicle.
"You are fortunate that you are not standing here because you killed some pedestrian.
“It’s all very well you panicking but everybody else who’s around on the streets and pavements including mothers and sisters and everybody else doesn’t know there’s a maniac coming through trying to escape from a police officer.
"You are 19. You are a man. Start behaving like one.”
Defence barrister Marianne Alton said it was a ‘wholly isolated incident’.
She said: “There can be no doubt this was a bad piece of driving. He had bought the car in order to fix and sell it.
"He picked up the car on that day and was driving to the garage to fix it at the time he was discovered by police.
"He has been apologetic from the outset and has not sought to ever justify his actions.
"He has accepted they were irresponsible and stupid and has a great deal of regret and remorse.”