Unlicensed van driver sped away from police in Hartlepool at 60mph after taking cocaine and cannabis

A drugged up driver who led police on a high speed chase has been given a chance by a judge after being spared jail.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 12:00 am

Van driver Liam Lee, 29, risked the safety of others and landed himself in court when he failed to stop for police on Brierton Lane, Hartlepool, after taking cocaine and cannabis.

He sped off reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour in residential areas, Teesside Crown Court heard.

But Lee, who did not have a licence after a previous ban, was spared immediate prison.

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Liam Lee failed to stop for police on Brierton Lane, Hartlepool.

Instead he was given a chance to prove he can stay out of trouble with a suspended prison sentence.

The offences all happened on May 22 last year when Lee was behind the wheel of a blue Vauxhall Combo van.

He admitted two counts of drug driving, and one each of failing to stop when required by police, dangerous driving, and having no licence or insurance.

The judge, Recorder Nathan Adams, said: “The police indicated for you to stop. You decided to escalate matters by taking off at high speed.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

"It was a relatively prolonged chase before the vehicle was abandoned and you tried to make off.

"It’s lucky no one was injured. This is a serious matter.”

He said Lee’s drug taking made the driving “significantly more dangerous”.

But the court heard he was lightly convicted having only been in court on two previous occasions including a past offence of driving under the influence of drugs when he was banned.

It was said his family and children rely on him.

Paul Cleasby, mitigating, said: “The defendant expresses his remorse through me. He pleaded guilty at a relatively early opportunity.

"He’s a hard working family man far more use to society on the outside than he would be spending a few months on the inside,”

Recorder Adams said he was concerned at Lee’s regular cannabis use although Lee said he was willing to work with the probation service to address it.

"I’m going to give you a chance,” said Recorder Adams.

Lee, of Jute Grove, Hartlepool, was given six months prison suspended for 18 months and a three-year driving ban.

He was also given a three-month night time curfew and ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity days.

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