A TEENAGE driver who led police on a chase while high on drugs has been spared jail... so he avoids “mixing with criminals”.

James Pumfrey, 18, continued attempting to flee from officers even after two tyres on his car were punctured by a specialist police stinger.

Pumfrey was sentenced after he admitted dangerous driving and drug driving due to consumption of cannabis.

Pumfrey, of Coxes Farm Road, Billericay, was first spotted and followed by police, with four passengers, in his Ford Fiesta at nearly midnight on April 27 in Coventry.

The car evaded police on this, and another occasion when Pumfrey was not driving, but he was stopped on a third occasion when he was the only occupant of the car in Coventry.

In the chase Pumfrey reached speeds of 80mph in residential streets.

Yet deputy Judge Richard Griffith-Jones at Warwick Crown Court felt prison wouldn’t help. He said: “It is easy to imagine someone like you getting in with the wrong crowd.

“It is important, if it can be avoided, that you are kept away from malign influences.

“If you had spent years in the courts, you would have seen families who have lost loved ones in road accidents you would have seen people who cannot walk because they have been injured in road accidents.

“Driving is one of the most potentially dangerous things people do. It must be obvious to you, though you won’t have seen what I have seen, that you can change or destroy people’s lives.

“And if you take drugs, you make your driving even more dangerous, because it obliterates any careful approach. You are lucky you haven’t killed or maimed someone.”

Joshua Purser, mitigating, said: “It was three things, fear, immaturity and inexperience, which are a potentially dangerous cocktail behind the wheel. “He has a borderline diagnosis of Asperger’s, which had heightened those three factors, and which also resulted in him being easily led.”

He was sentenced to six months suspended for a year, disqualified from driving for a year, given a curfew and a rehabilitation requirement.