A driver who crashed a vehicle when he was being chased by police was found to be in car with false number plates, a court heard.

Officers started to follow Thomas Sheard in the early hours of April 15 after seeing him in Staincliffe Road, Dewsbury.

He had two passengers and drove at up to 70mph as he tried to get away.

At one stage he drove on the wrong side of the road towards an oncoming taxi and only braked at the last minute, forcing the taxi driver to take evasive action to avoid a collision, Allan Armbrister, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court.

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Minutes later Sheard turned down a dirt track and collided with a mound of earth. He got out of the vehicle but was chased, caught and he was found to be a disqualified driver.

Mr Armbrister said it was then discovered the car had false number plates on and another set of registration plates were inside which matched a vehicle in Manchester. As no-one had claimed ownership it had since been crushed.

Sheard had five previous penalties for driving while uninsured.

Sheard subsequently told a probation officer he bought the car through Gumtree and his explanation for test driving it that night was that he was “young and dumb.” He said he had panicked when he saw the police and had learned his lesson.

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Andrew Petterson, representing Sheard, said he currently worked as a driver’s mate but knew he would not be able to drive for some time.

Sheard, 19, of Lonsbrough Avenue, Heckmondwike, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance. He was given nine months detention suspended for 12 months with a 30 day rehabilitation activity requirement and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Deputy Circuit Judge James Spencer QC said: “You acquired this motor car and drove it with two mates inside at night thinking nobody would catch you. When somebody did notice you, you drove off and drove dangerously.”

But he said he was prepared to give him a last chance but warned him not to get into “another dodgy car.”