Van driver rammed police car during dangerous chase through Hunslet and Beeston

A van driver rammed police cars, mounted pavements and came close to knocking down pedestrians during a dangerous chase through south Leeds.

Damien Howe was locked up for 14 months after a court heard he continued to drive dangerously after police used a stringer device to burst the tyres of his vehicle during the incident on December 21 last year.

Damien Howe crossed a footpath on Tunstall Road to enter the Longroyd estate during police chase.

Damien Howe crossed a footpath on Tunstall Road to enter the Longroyd estate during police chase.

Leeds Crown Court heard police were called to reports of the theft of a Mercedes Sprinter van in the Hunslet area at 7.25pm.

Officers saw Howe in the vehicle on Hillidge Road, Hunslet, and attempted to box him in using two police cars.

Howe reversed at speed into one of the cars before accelerating forwards and hitting the other.

Damage was caused to both police vehicles.

The defendant then drove off and went on to the wrong side of a dual carriageway during the pursuit.

He drove over a footpath to enter the Longroyd estate in Beeston.

Howe drove across junctions without stopping and put pedestrians in danger.

Stephanie Hancock, prosecuting, said Howe crossed back over a footpath to enter Tunstall Road.

A stinger device was deployed and three of the tyres on the van were deflated

Howe continued to drive and reached speeds of 40mph before police managed to box the vehicle in and bring it to a stop.

Howe, 33, of Britannia Road, Morley, was found in possession of a rock of cocaine when he was arrested.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, criminal damage, failing to stop and possession of cocaine.

The court heard Howe has served prison sentences in the past for dangerous driving and vehicle offences.

Mark Foley, mitigating, described Howe's driving as "sheer stupidity".

Mr Foley said Howe had acted in panic after seeing the police.

He added: "This was a naive and stupid offence. At 33, he should know better."

Howe was also banned from driving for 19 months.

Judge Penelope Belcher said: "This was a sustained period of dangerous driving."