Driver involved in 25-minute pursuit with police in Todmorden gets suspended prison term

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A prolific motoring offender has been given a suspended prison sentence after being involved in a 25-minute pursuit with police around streets and roads in Todmorden.

Bradford Crown Court heard how a police officer decided to make checks on the Ford Focus being driven by 32-year-old Christopher Plaister due to the car’s poor state of repair and he discovered that it had no registered keeper or insurance.

Prosecutor Emma Downing said the officer activated the lights and sirens in his vehicle to get Plaister to stop, but he accelerated out of Todmorden in the Ford Focus at a speed of 40mph on 30mph road.

During the early hours pursuit in March several motorists had to take evasive action to avoid the Focus and at one point the police officer tried to block Plaister’s path using his own vehicle.

At a set of temporary traffic lights on the A646 Halifax Road Plaister drove through a red light and headed towards a blind bend without reducing his speed.

Plaister, of Joshua Street, Todmorden, drove along a single lane country road at 40mph before looping back onto the A646 where other police vehicles joined the pursuit.

Miss Downing said officers managed to block Plaister’s path on Boardman Street and he was arrested.

Plaister, who has 16 previous convictions for mainly motoring offences, told police he had only purchased the Focus a few days before and claimed that he had been living in the vehicle at a time because he was suffering a breakdown.

When Recorder George Cook asked about the fate of car Plaister told him over a prison video link that it had been recovered from the scene, but he had given permission for it to be “crushed”.

Plaister, who admitted offences of dangerous driving, driving without insurance, driving otherwise that in accordance with his provisional licence and failing to stop, was sentenced via a video link to Hull Prison.

Recorder Cook said it was still a serious offence even though no one had been injured and Plaister’s position was made worse by his appalling record for motoring matters.

“It’s clear you need some guidance and assistance as to how to move in with your life,” said the judge.

After hearing that Plaister had been remanded in custody for about three weeks Recorder Cook said he was taking an exceptional course in suspending his 10-month jail sentence for 18 months.

But he said Plaister would have to take part in a responsible road users group and also do 150 hours unpaid work for the community.

Plaister was also banned from driving for three years and he must take an extended driving test at the end of the ban before lawfully driving in the roads again.