A 32-YEAR-OLD garage owner who raced onto a roundabout in his high performance vehicle went into a sideways drift as he undertook a learner driver.

Blackburn magistrates heard Christopher James Eastham sped off in his Nissan Skyline and a police officer who set off in pursuit reached 70 mph and was still being left behind.

Eastham pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving and claimed he had never done more than 40 mph.

But district judge Nick Sanders said he found the evidence of the prosecution witnesses compelling.

“There is no doubt in my mind that you were showing off,” said Mr Sanders. “You had your friend in the car and you were showing him what it could do.”

Eastham, 32, of Duckshaw Road, Darwen, pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving but was convicted after trial.

He was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

The court heard that the learner driver and her instructor heard a roaring noise and a screeching of tyres as they passed under the motorway on the roundabout at Junction 4 at 12.20 pm on September 5. The instructor saw what she described as a ‘silver blur’ as they were undertaken.

At the same time a police traffic officer was on the same roundabout and saw the Nissan join from the services at high speed.

He deemed that to be a dangerous manoeuvre, before the undertaking and drifting, and immediately put on his blue lights. The Nissan crossed into the inside lane after undertaking but then pulled back across and raced off down Eccleshill Road.

Eastham claimed he had stopped alongside the learner driver as they both left the services.

He accepted that he undertook and that was an incorrect manoeuvre but denied any near collision or excessive speed.

He said when he drove down Eccleshill Road he was doing about 40 mph.

Announcing a guilty verdict district judge Sanders said there was no doubt in his mind that the standard of Eastham’s driving fell well below that of a reasonable and competent driver.

“You put yourself and others at risk,” said Mr Sanders.