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Chronicle Live
Chronicle Live
David Huntley

Banned BMW driver led police on dangerous County Durham chase before smashing into van

A banned BMW driver led police on a dangerous chase through County Durham before smashing into a van and causing injuries.

Andrew Farmer was driving a black BMW with cloned plates when he caught the attention of traffic police on December 21. The 33-year-old then took off at speed, but ended up smashing into a van and injuring the workman who was behind the wheel.

Farmer, of Dene Terrace, Shotton Colliery, appeared at Durham Crown Court on Thursday to be sentenced for dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, and driving without insurance. He had pleaded guilty to the charges.

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The court heard police were on patrol when they received notification that a car was in the area with cloned plates. Ian West, prosecuting, said: "The officers made their way to the area and came across the vehicle, which passed in the opposite direction. The car took off at speed and the officers lost sight on the A688."

Having lost Farmer, the police then set up a static observation near Wheatley Hill and soon saw his vehicle again. Police again resumed the chase as a van driver was driving in the same area. Mr West said: "He had just pulled onto the lane when he felt a large impact to the rear of the vehicle, which pushed him 20m into the road. He felt pain in his lower back, then his whole back, neck and right arm."

Following the crash, Farmer ran off, but was soon arrested after being found hiding in a nearby garden after witnesses pointed him out. The van driver later went to hospital to be treated for whiplash and muscle damage. In a victim statement, the van driver said his injuries had impacted his work and that he was in "constant pain and struggling to sleep".

The court was told Farmer had 24 previous convictions for 55 offences, and in July 2022 had received a community order for driving whilst disqualified. He had also received a 15 month prison sentence in 2017 for driving offences.

Martin Scarborough, defending, asked for credit for his guilty pleas, saying: "He shouldn't have been on the roads, when he saw the police car he drove away in a dangerous manner, resulting in the collision."

Sentencing Farmer, Judge Jo Kidd jailed him for 16 months and banned him from driving for four years and eight months. He must take an extended re-test if he wants his licence back.

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