A DRINK driver who led police on a 70mph chase through residential streets and crashed into another car has been spared jail.

Burnley Crown Court heard Robert Lesley Bell, 20, had been drinking in a pub in Burnley after breaking up with his girlfriend of three years when he was refused a taxi ride.

Despite being nearly twice over the legal limit Bell, of Manor Street, Accrington, got into his Vauxhall Corsa and decided to drive home.

Prosecutor Stephen Parker said Bell drove along the M65 and got off at the Accrington exit but it was only when he got onto the A6185 Dunkenhalgh Way at around 10.45pm on July 6 that a full-blown police chase started.

Footage from the pursuing police officer’s car showed Bell, who is enrolled on an electrician apprenticeship at Burnley College, drove at speeds of up to 70mph in 30mph zones where cars were parked on both sides of the road.

He also failed to stop at give way signs and it is at one of those that he managed to lose police, Mr Parker said.

The court heard that it was while police were looking for Bell that he crashed into a car, smashing his headlight. Police then saw the driver of that car chasing Bell’s vehicle.

As officers went to intervene in Plantation Street, Bell mounted the kerb to escape.

His Corsa was later found parked near to his house.

Bell was breathalysed and was found to be 65 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Bell. who has a previous conviction for drink-driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance dating back to December 2013, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

Defending, Ahmed Nadim said sending Bell to immediate custody would not serve the public interest and would lead him towards a path of criminality. He also said his client had got a £4,000 loan out on the car, which has since been sold for £900. After paying impound fees Bell received just £90 of that.

Mr Nadim said: “It might be the defendant merits a custodial sentence. As a result of that he will be tarnished for life. It will set him on a path where he will be a burden on society.”

Judge, Mr Recorder John Jones QC sentenced Bell to eight months imprisonment but suspended it for 12 months. He was also banned from driving for four years, told to complete 100 hours unpaid work and a 15-hour rehabilitation activity requirement.