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Unemployed Chippenham man drove through red light as police followed
2:42pm Tuesday 18th September 2012 in News
A driver who led police on a high speed chase in the dead of night has been banned from the road for six months.
Stephen Burke sped away from officers in Chippenham after they tried to speak to him shortly before 3am on Saturday, January 28.
Burke, 42, who was in a V-reg Volkswagen Golf, then hared up the A350 as officers followed with their blue lights flashing.
Susan Cavender, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that the car went west on the motorway at more than 100mph.
After pulling off at junction 18, Burke went through a red traffic light as he headed south, crossing double white lines as he overtook a van near the village of Pennsylvania.
At the Toghill roundabout he turned right then left on to Freezinghill Lane where the car was seen drifting in the road, clipping the kerb, before being corrected.
Miss Cavender said officers, who had earlier turned off their flashing lights, decided to end the chase as the car was heading towards the MOD site in Lansdown.
She said officers were worried that there would be pedestrians about in the area despite the time of day.
Burke, of Cottles Barton, Staverton, pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving but admitted the lesser charge of careless driving.
The court was told he currently had six points on his licence for two mobile phone offences.
Martin Lanchester, defending, said his client had failed to pull over for the police after a string of incidents during which he had been stopped and, on one occasion, detained for no reason.
He said he realised he should not have done it but for much of the journey the police held back without their lights on so he did not know they were still there.
Mr Lanchester said his client, who has a 17-year-old son on a plumbing course at Bath College, was currently unemployed but had an interview at Honda in Swindon.
Passing sentence, Judge Euan Ambrose said: “It seems in the round it must be in the most serious category.
“If you drove at speeds of 100mph or more on the motorway a simple speeding conviction would bring with it six points of a disqualification. That was the beginning of the offending here, not the extent of it.”
He imposed nine points, meaning Burke was banned for six months under the totting up procedure and told him to pay £250 in fines and costs.