A judge questioned the “stupidity and impulsiveness” of a dangerous driver as he sentenced him for reversing into a police car.

Owen Whitehead, 23, appeared at Burnley Crown Court charged with one count of dangerous driving which happened on November 24, 2022.

On that date, police officers were called to reports of a stolen motorbike in Padiham, an offence for which Whitehead was not charged.

They heard the sound of a motorbike from a nearby street so went to investigate, and when they did a black Audi A3 driven by Whitehead reversed out into Hapton Road, then sped away along Cemetery Road.

The car sped past PC Scott, who informed PC O’Reilly the car was heading back their way, and it passed the second officer without stopping at a give-way junction, though did stop shortly after to let a passenger in.

As another police vehicle approached the now-stopped Audi and slowed down, the car driven by the defendant reversed at speed and crashed with the front of the police car, at which point he was detained.

Whitehead was arrested and gave a no comment interview. He has one previous conviction in 2021 for a dissimilar offence.

Mark Stuart, in mitigation, said his client accepted reversing backwards and accepted what he did was dangerous.

Judge Guy Mathieson, sentencing, said: “You had been at a friend’s house. Some mates pull up.

"The driver was a young male and you didn’t trust him to drive, so you got in. In those circumstances, why didn’t you stop?

“You’d done nothing wrong as far as you know, so you could have explained that, so I am very sceptical as to that explanation.

“The stupidity and impulsiveness of what you did is staggering, because you’re not a kid at 23.

"Nobody, not even you, could have thought getting in that car was a good idea.

“I pray this is just a mistake and not a sign of something more sinister in your background.

“You’ll get one chance. Don’t let me see you again.”

Whitehead, of Swallow Park, Burnley, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at a pre-trial review in December.

He was sentenced to an 18-month community order, with 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 150 hours unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from driving for one year and must take an extended retest.