A RUTHIN man who drove at speed out of Ruthin town centre in a bid to get away from police has escaped immediate custody after he admitted a charge of dangerous driving.

Defendant Christopher Muir, 27, of Fron Haul in Ruthin, admitted that on December 12 last year, he drove dangerously in Lon Parcwr in the town and failed to stop.

Mold Crown Court was told that police saw him speeding and indicated to him to stop.

They put on their blue lights but he accelerated away.

The police vehicle was not an appropriate one for a high speed pursuit but officers followed the same route as Muir's car.

Officers came around a bend and found that he had crashed and that the speedometer had stuck on 87 mph on impact, said prosecuting barrister John Philpotts.

Judge Niclas Parry told Muir: "This was a police chase as far as you were concerned, in a town centre.

"There was a serious collision - it was described as a massive impact."

Both air bags had been activated and the judge said that it was "miraculous" that no one had been injured.

He had a passenger at the time.

The defendant also had one wheel on the vehicle which was for emergency use and was not suitable for speeds of more than 50 mph.

Because of the obvious danger he caused, it had to be a custodial sentence.

But he was a man of good character with a clean driving licence when he had probably been behind the wheel for some ten years.

He had pleaded guilty, he had made full and frank admissions and showed genuine remorse.

There was no suggestion of drugs or alcohol being involved.

"For all those reasons you deserve a chance," said Judge Parry.

A six month prison sentence was suspended for a year, and he was ordered to carry out 180 unpaid hours in the community.

He was banned from driving for two years and he must take an extended driving test.

Muir was ordered to pay £535 costs.

There was no separate penalty for failing to stop.

The court heard that at about 12.45am on December 19 police on patrol in Ruthin town centre had their attention drawn to a blue Seat.

It appeared to be driving above the speed limit. officers activated blue lights and indicated to the driver to stop.

But the car accelerated away.

Officers followed at a distance and when the police car came around a corner they found the car had collided with "street furniture" and was now facing the wrong way.

The vehicle had been badly damaged and abandoned, two men were seen to be running away but it was not possible to detain them.

Mr Philpotts said that bank cards belonging to the defendant were found in the vehicle and police did a PNC check and found that there was no insurance or MOT certificate on the vehicle, although those charges had since been dropped.

The vehicle was being driven with one space wheel - a wheel used for emergencies.

A dog handler had been called out and the police helicopter was scrambled but the defendant was not found.

However, 40 minutes later he surrendered himself to the police.

He made full admissions in interview.

Defending barrister Simon Rogers did not mitigate when the judge indicated the sentence he had in mind.