A DANGEROUS driver reached 70mph in 30mph zones during a police chase which ended with him hitting a phone box.

Burnley Crown Court heard how PC Anthony Beckett had become concerned about 19-year-old Azhar Iqbal’s driving in Wheatley Lane Road, Fence, at 1am on April 1.

Prosecuting, Stephen Parker said: “He thought it was suspicious because the vehicle was driving slowly and the brake lights kept activating for no reason. The officer took up a following position behind the Vauxhall Vectra.”

CCTV footage played in court showed how as the vehicle approached the Sparrowhawk pub it reached 40mph so PC Beckett put his blue lights on.

After he turned right onto Carr Hall Road, which has a 30mph speed limit, Iqbal drove at nearly 70mph. He then crossed the Padiham bypass at 60mph.

As the Vectra went towards Victoria Park, Mr Parker said a vehicle had to pull over to avoid a head-on crash. The Vectra could later be seen jumping a red light as it got to the intersection with Every Street.

Mr Parker said: “He goes into a pedestrian zone. He doesn’t turn at all. He crashes straight into a phone box.”

Iqbal was arrested after the two-and-a-half-minute pursuit.

When Iqbal was interviewed by police he provided a prepared statement in which he admitted to being the driver and he had no licence or insurance on the car. He said he was suffering from anxiety, had not been sleeping and panicked when PC Beckett began following him.

Iqbal, of Every Street, Nelson, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

Defending, Julian Goode said his client was of a man of previous good character who was looking to do an apprenticeship in engineering.

He said: “The defendant accepts this is a serious offence and an appalling piece of driving. He comes to court nervous, remorseful and ashamed. He has his father here today. He has deep regret his father sees him in court on a serious matter.

“It was poor decision making. He panicked. He foolishly drove away from the police. Thankfully nobody was injured.”

Judge Sara Dodd sentenced Iqbal to six months in custody but suspended it for 18 months. She made him subject to a three-month curfew, told him to do 150 hours’ unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation days. Iqbal was also banned from driving for a year.