A moped rider who failed to outrun a pursuing police helicopter and patrol cars has been handed a suspended jail term. Disqualified driver James Phillips bought the 50cc Piaggio for £200, rode it at speeds of up to 30mph without insurance and panicked when he saw police, Bristol Crown Court heard. He led them on the low-speed, doomed-to-failure chase around Southmead before stopping and declaring: "It's a fair cop."
Phillips, 22, a roofer of Southmead, Bristol, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance. Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC was told by Phillips' barrister it was more a case of stupid driving than dangerous driving. He told Phillips: "You are 22 and you've clearly made a nuisance of yourself quite a lot in the past.
"You drove dangerously, without insurance, when disqualified. You don't need me to tell you it deserves a prison sentence. I have decided to suspend that sentence. It looks to me as though you are growing up. That's what it's all about, isn't it? You are 22, you have responsibilities, a partner, a child, you have done courses and you work."
Phillips received a nine-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and was told to do 100 hours of unpaid work
and undergo a thinking skills programme. He was disqualified from driving for three years, told to take an extended driving test and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.