Ashley P Roberts drove the wrong way down carriageways, across central reservations and reached speeds of 70mph in 30mph zones. On April 17 this year, the dad-of-two was driving a silver BMW with a trade licence plate in the rear window.
He was stopped by police and as the officer got out of his vehicle to speak to the defendant, the 29-year-old pulled sharply away from the curb. A police chase followed through Leeds city centre.
Roberts reached speeds of 70mph in 30mph zones, went through red lights, drove across central reservations and on the wrong side of carriageways, and at times forced other vehicles to move out of the way.
After around seven minutes, police lost the BMW but later found it abandoned. A member of the public told officers the occupants had gone to Crown Point retail park and Roberts was caught there. He had the key to the BMW and an officer recognised him as the driver, and he was arrested.
Roberts was disqualified from driving at the time and the BMW belonged to his partner. He was also on bail for other driving matters when he committed the offences.
The defendant, of Colwyn Road, Leeds, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and using a motor vehicle without third party insurance. He has a previous conviction for dangerous driving, 14 convictions for driving while disqualified and 11 for driving without insurance.
A probation officer told the court that Roberts, a self-employed mechanic, has “complex emotional and wellbeing issues” and had admitted to regularly using cocaine before the offences. Roberts said he “panicked” when he saw the police and apologised for his behaviour.
The judge, Recorder Leila Benyounes, said: “This was a prolonged course of dangerous driving that involved a police chase and you attempting to evade police.”
She sentenced Roberts to 18 months in prison, suspended for 24 months. He was also disqualified from driving for a further two years.
Recorder Benyounes added: “Mr Roberts, you have been given a chance - don’t waste it.”