Danger driver found hiding in wheelie bin after twice ramming into police car in 70mph chase

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

A danger driver who rammed a patrol car during a high-speed police chase was found hiding in a wheelie bin by cops.

Gavin Middleton left an officer with a sore neck and shoulder after twice reversing into a patrol car during a chase lasting seven miles.

Middleton took to waste ground twice during the chase, and after fleeing from the car he tried to hide in a wheelie bin, Teesside Crown Court heard.

"Officers on patrol in Hart Lane in Hartlepool were alerted to a possible offence nearby," said Emma Atkinson, prosecuting.

"As a result they approached a Miitsubushi driven by this defendant.

"It had four or five passengers including, possibly, a child."

"The car sped off reaching speeds of 70mph, taking to the oncoming lane, and going the wrong way around a roundabout before cutting through a Tesco Express car park."

Middleton drove the car through a gap in a fence in Winterbottom Avenue, then through a field, emerging near King Oswy Drive, the court heard.

"The car stopped on Ocean Road," said Ms Atkinson. "It reversed into the police car, then did so again, with more force.

"Despite damage to the police car, the pursuit continued along the Coast Road to Blackhall Rocks.

"The car went off road again near Kelly Close, where the driver fled the scene.

"Middleton was found hiding nearby in a wheelie bin.

"The pursuit is estimated to have been for about seven miles, and to have lasted about 12 minutes."

Middleton, 30, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance, all on July 19.

He has previous convictions for 65 offences.

Andrew Teate, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Middleton's best mitigation is his early guilty plea.

"His account is he didn't drive for the full distance, taking over when the car stopped.

"His overall criminal record is a poor one, although many of the offences are for drugs and matters not related to motoring.

"He did pass his test when he was 18, and he drove legally until 2016."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton sentenced Middleton to 16 months in prison, and disqualified him from driving for three years, eight months.

The judge told Middleton: "There are some dangerous driving cases which qualify for the maximum sentence - this is one of those.

"The reasons are your speed, mode of driving, the length of the pursuit, and that you drove at police officers.

"The maximum sentence for dangerous driving is two years, and you are entitled to a discount for pleading guilty."

Middleton must pass an extended driving test if he wants to drive after the expiry of his ban.