Ban and custody for driver, 20, who led police on chase

A father-of-two who drove a stolen van at speeds of up to 60mph in a residential area while trying to evade police has been sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders' institution.

Liam Hadlington, aged 20, of no fixed address, was also banned from driving for three years when he appeared before Wolverhampton Crown Court on Tuesday.

Hadlington had admitted aggravated vehicle taking and driving while disqualified at an earlier hearing. He was also told he would have to take an extended driving test before he would be allowed to drive again.

Mr Mark Rees, prosecuting, said on April 18, at around 8.15pm, Hadlington was spotted by police driving a stolen Vauxhall van through the Princes End area of Tipton.

The officers turned on their blue lights, and Hadlington accelerated away.

Mr Rees said Hadlington drove through March Road at speeds of 50 to 60mph.

"That was made more dangerous because it is a residential area, with terraced houses and cars parked in the street and the like," he said.

"There were people standing in the street, there is a pub on the corner and there are shops nearby. The defendant posed a significant risk to any person on foot."

A Ford Focus was forced to brake sharply to avoid a collision, added Mr Rees.

"The van mounted the pavement outside a block of flats, and the driver showed a clear determination that he wasn't going to slow down," he said.

"The van was rocking from side to side, and the driver looked as if he was struggling to control the steering."

The van was driven across a grass verge, and police followed Hadlington into Shakespeare Road, where he was found driving in the opposite direction to the police car.

"The police went in front in an attempt to stop it, and the driver showed no intention of stopping.

"One of the officers was attempting to get out, and had to stand behind the passenger door."

He said officers lost the van in Kingsbury Road, but later found it abandoned in Gospel Oak Road.

Hadlington was arrested on April 24.

Mr Rees said Hadlington received a 12-month community order in March this year for burglary. In 2012, he was banned from driving for two years and sentenced to 16 months in a young offenders' institution for aggravated vehicle taking.

Mr Jas Mann, defending, said nobody was injured during the pursuit.

He said Hadlington had two young children, and realised that he would be in serious trouble if he did not change his ways.

He said that before he was taken into custody, he had been working in a factory earning around £300 a week.

"He is a young man with a work ethic," said Mr Mann.

"His downfall is a fascination with cars."