A driver who crashed through a hedge as he fled from police has been banned from the roads for three years.
Kenneth Watt, 33, took to two grassed areas in a Jeep he was driving in the early hours through Hartlepool.
He was given a suspended jail term after Teesside Crown Court heard he has learning difficulties, and was urged to drive by two unnamed men.
Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said: “Police spotted a Jeep Cherokee being driven near Hart Village in the early hours with three men inside. The driver sped off when he apparently spotted the police car.
“The officers started a pursuit which lasted about five minutes.”
The court heard Watt drove at about 70mph in a 40mph limit.
Ms Atkinson added: “He went the wrong way around a roundabout before taking to a grassed area and exited the grassed area through a hedge.
“The Jeep came to a halt at some roadworks which were partially blocking the carriageway.
“Watt fled on foot and was arrested in a house nearby and, when questioned, admitted he had been driving.”
Watt, 33, of Bruce Crecent, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving, driving without a licence, and driving without insurance.
Andrew Teate, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Watt is a man with learning difficulties. He met the two other men in Hartlepool, and they took him to Whitby. When it came to return, they said Mr Watt would have to drive or they would leave him behind.
“He had no idea how he would get from Whitby to Hartlepool on his own, so he reluctantly agreed.”
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton sentenced Watt to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, 35 days of rehabilitation activity, and banned him from driving for three years.
The judge told Watt: “There are far too many cases of this type that come before this court. They always merit a period of imprisonment.
“In the circumstances of your case, I have concluded the sentence need not be served immediately.”