Banned motorist drove at more than 50mph through Blackpool town centre during chase, court told

Crown Court
Crown Court
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A driver who led police on a dangerous pursuit through Blackpool town centre has had his 22 month jail term suspended for a year.

Luke Halpin, 28, of Back Cunliffe Road, Blackpool, drive the wrong way up one way streets, crossed carriageways to avoid standing traffic, and "veered wildly", Preston Crown Court was told.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and while disqualified following the incident in a black Ford Mondeo on September 7.

At the time he was on bail for stealing a car from a finance company and handling a stolen Ford Focus - offences he also admits.

The court was also told on March 31, 2016 Halpin bought a Vauxhall Astra with credit from Moneybarn Ltd. he paid a £ £400 deposit but made no further payments and the car was reported as stolen.

On December 5, 2016 he sold the stolen Astra, fitted with false numberplates, to a man via a car swap website who handed him £700 and a Ford Focus in return.

The following day Halpin arranged to sell the victim's Ford Focus to another man, but the car's previous owner had realised the Astra was stolen and had contacted police.

The probe was still ongoing when the police chase unfolded.

Joe Boyd, prosecuting, said: "At 9.05pm the defendant was seen driving a black Ford Mondeo on Grosvenor Street. It was because of the way he looked at the police officer that he decided there may be something wrong and put on his emergency equipment.

"The officer said he saw Halpin gave a double glance. As a result he reciprocated and accelerated. He estimated the speed to be over 50mph.

"He continued to pursue the vehicle and it travelled wrong way in a one way street towards the train station then onto Talbot Road."

The car came to rest in Abingdon Street, where Halpin fled. He was arrested a short time later.

Judge Parry said: "The place must have been busy even though it was out of season. The police quite rightly chased you to find out what was going on.

"You drove at 50 mph along multiple 30 mph streets.

"It's a miracle there wasn't an accident, and people could have been seriously injured or killed, frankly."

The judge said although he deserved to go straight to prison, he would suspend the sentence after hearing from defence lawyer Collette Renton that he had recently become the sole carer for his young son.

Halpin was given a curfew, rehabilitation requirement, two year road ban and must pay £700 and £400 in compensation.