Tayside and Central Scotland

Banned driver jailed over high-speed chase in central Perth

A banned driver who led police on a high-speed chase through the centre of Perth has been jailed for 20 months.

John Phillips drove through city centre streets so fast that officers struggled to keep up at 70mph.

The 23-year-old, who had more than a dozen previous driving convictions, was caught hiding in a garden after he crashed the car into a post box outside a primary school in December.

As well as the jail sentence, Phillips was banned from driving for 10 years.

Perth Sheriff Court heard that the charity door canvasser was serving a seven-year driving ban at the time of the offence, having accumulated "numerous" road traffic offences, including seven counts of driving without insurance and five for driving while disqualified.

He had also been jailed in 2012 for dangerous driving.

Built-up area

On 21 December, he was reported to be in a bar in Perth drinking alcohol, and was seen getting into a Ford Mondeo and driving friends home before returning to the bar.

Officers saw the car speed off through red traffic lights, and gave chase. However, they found that even at 70mph they were struggling to keep up.

As the chase passed through a built-up area, officers were advised to terminate their pursuit. But Phillips lost control of the car and crashed into a post box and a telephone box on Balhousie Street.

He fled the scene but was caught hiding in a garden nearby before refusing to comply with a police breath test.

Phillips, of Perth, admitted driving dangerously and at grossly excessive speed in several Perth streets, failing to give a breath specimen, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified.

After Phillips turned and gestured to friends in the public gallery following sentencing, Sheriff Fiona Tait told him: "You shouldn't feel it's a matter you should be congratulated on."

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