Thief sped through red lights in chase

Brendan Simpson, of Bispham Road, Blackpool
Brendan Simpson, of Bispham Road, Blackpool
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A young man responsible for an “appalling” piece of driving on residential roads has been jailed.

Brendan Simpson drove at speeds of more than 60mph, jumped red traffic lights, drove the wrong way around roundabouts and narrowly avoiding colliding with a taxi during a long police pursuit.

At the height of the chase, Lancashire’s police helicopter was deployed to follow the pursuit.

Simpson finally stopped after colliding with a parked vehicle.

The 20-year-old, of Bispham Road, North Shore, was sentenced to a year and three months in prison by a judge at Preston Crown Court.

He had admitted offences of aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and not having a driving licence or insurance.

The offences put him in breach of a suspended sentence order, imposed for taking a vehicle without consent.

He got behind the wheel of a delivery van that had originally been left parked in Elizabeth Street, Blackpool.

The vehicle was later spotted on George Street during the early hours of the morning in May last year.

Karen Brooks, prosecuting, said the van sped past a police patrol with no lights on.

The defendant continued at speed through neighbouring residential streets.

An officer switched on his sirens and lights and set off in pursuit.

The van went the wrong way up Elizabeth Street, Blackpool, and passed through two no entry signs.

Simpson went on to speed through red lights, take roundabouts the wrong way, and narrowly missed a taxi around the junction of Cherry Tree Road.

Air support got involved in the pursuit as the defendant sped on to Squires Gate Lane, passing the airport before hitting a parked car on the near side, before being arrested.

Paul Humphries, defending, said Simpson had not originally taken the van but was persuaded to drive it by a man who was not fit to get 
behind the wheel.

He said: “The defendant was co-opted to be the driver. He is afraid of the man who was telling him to drive. He was given he keys.

“He accepts that when the police were chasing he was told to keep driving.

“He knew the vehicle had been taken without permission.

“He knows he is going to jail.” Simpson was said to have complied with most of the community elements of his suspended sentence.

The judge, Recorder Tanya Griffiths QC, told Simpson: “This was an appalling piece of driving, all designed to avoid your apprehension by the police.

“This was a persistent, prolonged and deliberate course of bad driving at inappropriate speeds.

“You are fortunate not to be before the court for causing someone’s death”.

He was also banned from the road for 18 months.