A road menace who smashed into a taxi while being pursued by a police helicopter in a stolen car has been put behind bars.
David Hamlani crashed into the cab at Sheldon Road in South Shields in the early hours of July 10.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Hamlani, 27, was already banned from the roads and was out on licence from a previous prison sentence, when he stole the Vauxhall Corsa after he spotted the keys had accidentally been left in the car while parked at Galsworthy Road in the town.
The court heard he drove at high speed, through a red light and on the wrong side of the road after police spotted him on Stanhope Road a few hours later.
He smashed into the taxi after the police helicopter was dispatched to help officers in pursuit on the ground.
The taxi driver suffered stiffness and grazes and his vehicle was damaged in the smash.
Hamlani, and a passenger fled on foot from the crash scene but he was arrested in a nearby garden.
Judge Paul Sloan QC sentenced Hamlani, who admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified, having no insurance, failing to stop and
failing to provide a specimen, to 15 months behind bars.
Hamlani, of Bamford Walk, South Shields, who had been recalled to prison until next August to complete his previous sentence for burglary and assault, has been banned from the roads for two years.
He already has three previous court appearances for motoring offences.
The judge told him: "Police spotted you driving the vehicle in South Shields and officers activated lights and sirens, requiring you to pull over.
"You failed to do so. You sped off, driving at speeds of 40 to 50mph in 30mph speed limit areas and you went through a red light at about 40 to 50mph. You also drove on the wrong side of the road. collided with a mini bus taxi and failed to stop.
"You absconded from the vehicle and tried to make good your escape on foot. This was a bad offence of aggravated vehicle taking."
Vic Laffey, defending, said Hamlani stole the car "on impulse" when he noticed the keys had been left in.
Mr Laffey added: "Fortunately the collision and subsequent injury to the taxi driver were perhaps nowhere near as bad as they might have been."
The court heard despite his bad criminal history and driving record, Hamlani has no previous convictions for car theft.