VIDEO: 50cc moped rider tries to outrun police in Southmead, Bristol
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 without insurance and panicked when he saw police, Bristol Crown Court heard.
He led them on a low-speed, doomed-to-failure chase around Southmead before stopping and declaring: "It's a fair cop."
Phillips, 22, a roofer of Doncaster Road, Southmead, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance.
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YOU CAN WATCH A VIDEO OF THE CHASE HERE:
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.
Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, played the judge DVD footage captured by the police helicopter as it tailed the moped from above. Phillips, said to be travelling at up to 30mph, was captured from Greystoke Avenue as he did a loop around Southmead, mounting pavements and having near misses with cars as he darted through junctions.
Mr Bell told the court that at one stage a large man tried to punch him off his bike, but missed.
The chase stopped when Phillips took his helmet off, stopped the bike and officers swooped.
The court heard he had a previous conviction for dangerous driving when he drove a car from a burglary, from which others hurled bottles at police.
Farah Rashid, defending, said: "He panicked and behaved in a really stupid way.
"He was going to get caught. There was no excessive speed. It was only a matter of time that police would arrest him and he stopped voluntarily after some distance.
"It was, perhaps, more stupid than dangerous under the circumstances."