An ‘appalling’ and dangerous driver who had been drinking at a nightclub drove on the paths through a park while police were chasing him.

Aaron George, 32, had stolen his girlfriend Lisa Barton’s Audi when the two separated after an argument.

Prosecuting the case, Paul Cummings said George was seen at 6.30am on Saturday, May 14, stumbling out of a nightclub, before getting into the driving seat of the white Audi with two friends also getting in the car.

A concerned member of the public called police who started to look for the vehicle.

Lancashire Telegraph: Aaron George, 32Aaron George, 32

After locating the car at about 7.20am, officers and a police helicopter followed the car on a very lengthy pursuit, with George taking the car through Thompson Park in the town.

The police helicopter watched George driving on the footpaths through the park, with Recorder Paul Hodgkinson stating it was lucky nobody had been hurt or even killed but it "could have been very different".

After leaving the park, George continued to try and evade police, driving down back alleys and side streets before forcing an unmarked police car to crash into a parked car.

George seemed to start losing control of the steering after it appeared a tire had deflated.

When police finally managed to stop the vehicle after a pursuit of well over 10 minutes, they said there was a strong smell of alcohol from the car and that it was clear that George was very drunk.

In mitigation, Philip Holden said George’s driving in the park was not ‘very fast’ but accepted the dangerous element was a result of the risk to the public, location of the driving and the state of the defendant at the time of the offence.

Mr Holden said: “It’s an appalling piece of driving but perhaps there is worse cases of driving that this court has seen.

Lancashire Telegraph: He was driving along the narrow footpaths of Thompson's Park in Burnley while the police helicopter was watching from aboveHe was driving along the narrow footpaths of Thompson's Park in Burnley while the police helicopter was watching from above

“It is not the speed but the circumstances in this incident.”

He added that George "bitterly regretted" his actions and pleaded guilty as soon as he was given the chance.

Mr Holden added that George is now back in a relationship and he has two children, aged four and 10.

Recorder Paul Hodgkinson said George, of Bevan Place, Nelson, could have killed someone on that morning.

He said: “You drove through red lights, you drove the wrong way down carriageways towards traffic, you drove on footpaths, you drove on pavements, you drove through a park.

“All the while, you were incapable of driving because of your drunk and drug-infested state.

“Luckily, you didn’t hurt anyone or even worse kill someone.

"You put pedestrians at risk, you didn't care because you had one thing on your mind and that was protecting yourself from the police."

George previously pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.

He was jailed for 16 months and banned from driving for three years and seven months.

His licence has been endorsed and he must take an extended retest before getting back behind the steering wheel.