DANGEROUS driver David Holford sped through country roads in a stolen M-registration Rover Metro at 76mph while being chased by an armed police van.
Gloucester Crown Court heard the 26-year-old drove the 1991 car flat out before he crashed it into a tree and bushes in the early hours of October 6 last year.
Holford claimed he came across the car while leaving a party, which had been stolen on September 20, with the door open, lights on and keys in the ignition and he just hopped in.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC said it sounded absurd, but prosecutor Julian Kesner said there was no evidence to suggest he had stolen it the week before.
Holford, of Howard Street in the city, sped down Naas Lane and on to country roads towards Brookthorpe, driving at 76mph in the one lane tracks.
Mr Kesner told the court he had even started to leave the armed vehicle behind after the officers slowed down; worried they were putting him in more danger with a close pursuit.
He said: “He could see that the defendant was having trouble controlling the vehicle as he was going round the bends. Although they are country roads, there are parts with two lanes and the officer describes him as continually on the wrong side of the road and hitting the grass verges.”
A sharp left hand bend eventually proved too much for Holford and the Metro, and he crashed but was uninjured. Officers arrested him.
Holford pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, taking a vehicle without consent, driving without insurance and not in accordance with a licence.
The court heard he was just 16 when he stole his first car and had been one of Gloucester’s ‘serial car takers’. He’s since had convictions for the theft of a motorcar, aggravated vehicle taking and robbery.
Judge Tabor said he was “driving like a lunatic”.
He said: “You have been appearing before the courts with a depressing frequency.”
Holford was jailed for nine months and given a 12 month driving ban. He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge and will have to undergo an extended driving test before he is allowed back on the road.