Driver who led police on a high speed chase through South Tyneside is jailed

A danger driver who sparked a police chase in a stolen car while trying to “annoy” the owner has been put behind bars.

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Gavin Hartley got into a verbal dispute with the driver of a Volkswagen Polo in the Chichester area of South Shields in the early hours of February 12.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when the motorist stepped out of his vehicle and left his keys in the ignition, Hartley got into the driver’s seat and took the car.

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Police spotted it around an hour later, on the John Reid Road in the town, where Hartley travelled at up to 70mph in the 40mph area, went through a red light and refused to stop.

Newcastle Crown Court.Newcastle Crown Court.
Newcastle Crown Court.

The court heard he brought the vehicle to an “abrupt halt” after a short chase and was arrested.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said: “He put forward a prepared statement, accepting taking the vehicle and driving it a short distance to annoy the complainant.”

Hartley, 45, of no fixed address, who has a criminal record, admitted taking without consent and dangerous driving.

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Judge Edward Bindloss today sentenced him to eight months behind bars, most of which he has already served on remand, with a 12 month road ban.

John Crawford, defending, said: “It was not a long chase.”

Mr Crawford added that Hartley has been working in the prison kitchen and completed courses while behind bars.