A dangerous driver who narrowly avoided hitting a police officer while fleeing across a field has been jailed for 14 months today.

Andrew Wright, of Colt Park, Hamsterley Colliery, activated a traffic officer’s on-board ANPR camera while driving a green Subaru Forester on June 10 in Wingate, which intelligence suggested may have been linked to organised crime.

When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, Wright made off at high speed towards Station Town, weaving in and out of traffic, and using an A19 slip road to change direction.

Following a lengthy pursuit, officers spotted Wright driving around a public park opposite the B1280 through Station Town, where he was apparently unable to find his way back to the road.

They approached the car on foot, but Wright continued to tear across the muddy field, coming within inches of hitting one of the officers.

The 27-year-old eventually abandoned the car and tried to escape on foot via the main road, but was arrested nearby only minutes later.

Two tubs of cannabis bud and a baseball bat were found inside the Subaru, and Wright was subsequently charged with dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and possession of cannabis.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court today, he was sentenced to 14 months in prison and disqualified for three years plus a seven-month extension. He will also have to take an extended retest.

Durham Constabulary Road Policing Inspector, Ian Leach, said: “Wright’s manner of driving showed complete disregard for the safety of other road users, and could very easily have resulted in a serious collision.

“Our officers face dangerous situations on a daily basis, but should not have to face the prospect of jumping out of the way of a moving vehicle as they did in this case.

“I hope this sentence demonstrates the seriousness of Wright’s actions, and shows that offences of this nature will not be taken lightly.”