Teenager rammed police three times

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A TEENAGE driver who led police on a 25-minute chase smashed into a police car three times and caused an officer to have to jump for his safety.

Josh Rowley, 19, had no licence or insurance, when he sped away from police before racing through red lights and even going the wrong way along the A689.

Rowley first reversed into a police car when plain clothes officers caught him parked up with three pals at 3.35am on the outskirts of Hartlepool.

He reversed his Ford Focus estate twice again at the police vehicle causing £834 damage and forcing one officer to leap to safety, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The chase started in Tarnston Road, Hartlepool, before Rowley was pursued for 25 minutes by police cars and the force’s helicopter, said prosecutor Sue Jacobs.

Rowley drove at high speed through housing areas, through red lights and along the wrong carriageway of the A689.

The car swung off at Brierton Farm, where it was blocked in by two police cars, and Rowley jumped from the vehicle and ran off.

But the force helicopter tracked him from the sky and then directed officers on the ground before he was arrested.

When he was interviewed he admitted his part in the chase, but he did not want to name the others involved.

Mrs Jacobs said he described himself in colourful terms as “being an idiot”.

He said that he had not intended to cause any harm, but he had wanted to get away because he was a young lad. He admitted that he did not have a licence or insurance.

Rowley pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop, driving without a licence or insurance and possession of a small amount of cannabis, all on February 3.

Ian Mullarkey, mitigating, said the offences clearly passed the custody threshold, but he claimed Rowley could be punished by a suspended sentence and restrictions on his liberty in the community.

He said Rowley was clearly foolish and reckless, but he was remorseful and he knew that he had to grow up.

He had been laid off from his well-paid job as a cable puller and the firm now wanted to re-employ him on contracts all over the country.

Judge Michael Taylor told Rowley: “I am prepared to give you one final chance today.”

Rowley, of Erskine Road, Hartlepool, was given a six-month youth detention sentence that was suspended for two years, with supervision.

He was also given 100-hours unpaid work, a three-months curfew from 7pm to 7am and disqualified from driving for 12 months until he passes an extended test.

The judge told him he would reconsider the curfew if the firm said it would affect his job prospects.