A MAN who disrupted thousands of rush hour commutes after leading police on a high speed chase and dumping a car on train tracks has been jailed.

Luke Clements, 26, admitted endangering life on the railway line after leaving a Volkswagen Polo straddling the tracks at Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea..

Officers tried to flag down the car on Stanford Road, Stanford-le-Hope, at about 4.15am on Tuesday, March 29.

When it failed to stop, they chased the car seven miles to Pitsea.

Commuters faced heavy delays and travel chaos as emergency services tried to clear the abandoned car from the track.

More than 60 rush hour services between Pitsea and London Fenchurch Street were disrupted until the car was winched out about four hours later.

During the police chase, residents saw the Volkswagen Polo mount the pavement and speed off.

Tina Gardner, of Goldings Crescent, Vange, said the driver hit and killed her cat Pebbles as it came racing down the road.

Clements, of Scott Road, Chadwell St Mary, was arrested and taken to Basildon Hospital, where he then smashed a window and climbed onto the roof while still handcuffed.

He was eventually coaxed down following four hours of negotiations with officers.

Clements appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Monday, June 20, and admitted dangerous driving, endangering the safety of a person on a railway line, criminal damage and escaping lawful custody.

He was jailed for ten months for dangerous driving and another ten months for endangering the safety of people on a railway line, to run concurrently.

He was sentenced to six months for escaping lawful custody, to run consecutively, meaning he will spent a total of 16 months in prison.

Clements was also banned from driving for two years and eight months.

He was given no separate penalty for criminal damage.

Mrs Gardner said she felt the sentence should have been tougher.

She said: “The sentence is nowhere near long enough. He endangered lives, had no regard for human life let alone animals, he also had no regard for the law.

“He will be in jail, get three meals a day and allowed to have what he sees necessary to make him comfortable. It’s not a sentence, it’s a reward.

“I have no time for people who flout the law. I’m sure he will be out in under ten months.”

A spokesman for c2c, which operates train line, said: “This incident delayed over 60 trains and affected thousands of passengers during the morning peak, so we are pleased the courts have recognised the severity of the disruption.”