A BANNED driver who led police on a five-mile chase around the town’s streets and sped at 60mph down alleyways has been jailed.

Clint Baker ran red lights and narrowly avoided crashing into parked cars, while a pedestrian had to take evasive in order to avoid being run over by the convicted armed robber.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that police patrolling on Manchester Road at around 10.15pm on Monday, March 30, spotted a stolen Citroen van being driven by the defendant, heading out of Warrington in the direction of Woolston.

When officers began to follow the 26-year-old, of Cabul Close in Orford, he put his foot down and drove through a red light in order to turn onto Padgate Lane.

A pursuit began along Gorsey Lane, and Baker almost lost control of his vehicle as he sped round a bend onto Quebec Road.

He was clocked at 60mph in a 20mph zone, drove on the wrong side of the streets and came close to colliding with stationary vehicles.

As the van turned onto Norris Street at ‘excessive speed’, a pedestrian was forced to step out of the road so that she would not be hit.

The chase continued onto Richardson Street, with Baker driving along a back alley at between 55mph and 60mph before turning onto Wilkinson Street and ‘swerving around’.

He returned along Quebec Road and Gorsey Lane before abandoning his vehicle as it was still travelling at around 10mph near to Rylands Recreation Club.

As the driver fled on foot, the van rolled along the road and rammed the front gates of the sports club.

Baker – who appeared in court via video link to HMP Altcourse – was arrested nearby a short time later, with the pursuit having covered an estimated distance of five miles in total.

He was not charged in relation to the theft of the vehicle, having stated that he had bought the van for £240 the same day.

Under interview, he claimed that he had been on route to visit his girlfriend and ‘panicked’ when he saw the police as he was disqualified from driving.

Baker has 12 previous convictions for 21 offences – including robbery, possession of a bladed article in a public place and dangerous driving over an incident in 2013 for which he was jailed for two years and banned from the roads.

He was then rapped again in 2015 for dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance – at which point the driving ban was extended.

His record also includes drug trafficking charges, handling stolen goods and assault.

Baker – whose partner is expecting the couple’s first child in October – was handed 10 months behind bars on Friday, May 15, having admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance during an earlier hearing.

He was also banned from the roads for an additional 23 months.

Sentencing, judge Louise Brandon said: “You drove with a disregard for the rules of the road and for other road users – you put members of the public at risk.

“Given the length of the pursuit, it is pure good luck that nobody was injured – or worse – by your driving.

“All this occurred during the period of lockdown, when you shouldn’t have been on the streets in any event.

“Your actions put additional pressure on what were already stretched resources.

“Despite your indication that you won’t be back before the courts, the reality is that the appropriate punishment can only be immediate custody.”