Preston teen locked up over high speed police chase through Southport

Police chase: James Byres

Police chase: James Byres

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A teenager who drove at 70mph during a police chase through a town centre has been locked up for six months.

James Byres, of Dean Street, Bamber Bridge, was spotted by officers driving an uninsured Renault Laguna without an MOT in Lord Street, Southport, at around 2am on October 23 last year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard police put their emergency lights on and signalled the 19-year-old to stop, but he accelerated down the road, which was in a 30mph zone.

Kim Egerton, prosecuting, said: “When the defendant realised he was being followed he increased his speed to 60mph and 70mph.”

She said the qualified mechanic sped along Albert Road, briefly losing control as he crossed a roundabout at Cambridge Road, which caused the car to skid, before turning into Marine Drive.

He again skidded as he made the turn, hitting speeds of 60mph in the 40mph zone before an officer using a stop stick – or spiked ‘stinger’ – burst the Laguna’s tyres. When arrested by police, Byres said he drove away because he knew he did not have insurance.

Ms Egerton said: “He said he thought he would be able to get away from the police patrol.”

She said there were three passengers in the car, but Byres denied they had been frightened by the five-minute chase.

The court heard he was sentenced to a community order and banned from driving for taking a vehicle in a separate case on October 26, dealt with by Preston magistrates.

But two days later, while still on bail for the incident in Southport, he stole a Vauxhall Astra in Preston after a man advertised it for sale on Gumtree.

On November 26 he was shown the car by a friend of the seller and asked to see its engine.

The man got out to open the bonnet and Byres slid across from the passenger seat into the driver’s seat and sped away.

After Byres was arrested for this offence, he then failed to appear at court while on bail, claiming he had forgotten the date.

Ms Egerton said police searched his home and uncovered a stolen licence plate found in a wardrobe. Byres, wearing a short-sleeved white shirt and black tie in court, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance, driving without a licence and failing to stop. He also admitted taking a vehicle, driving while disqualified and handling stolen goods. Ian Whitehurst, defending, said the offences happened over a short period of time, when the car enthusiast’s life was “spiralling out of control”.

He said Byres had to cope with his grandfather’s death, splitting up with his girlfriend and losing his job during a “perfect storm of emotional upheaval”.

Recorder Mark Halliwell sentenced Byres to six months in a young offenders institution and banned him from driving for two years.