AN UNINSURED learner driver who led police on a high-speed chase along narrow country lanes in the Ilton area has been spared jail.
Raymond Baker, 18, from Compton Dundon, was told by the judge 'you could have easily seriously injured or even killed someone' when he was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court.
Baker had bought a yellow Nissan Micra for £50 on October 22 and went driving in it the same day, despite being uninsured and only holding a provisional licence, the court heard.
Gordon Richings for the prosecution, said: "An on-duty police sergeant spotted a yellow Nissan Micra speeding towards a roundabout on the A303 near Ilton at around 11pm, and proceeded to follow the car."
"The pursuit went off the A303 and onto to smaller roads near Frost Lane. The police officer said he was doing 60mph along country roads to try and catch up with the vehicle but was gaining no ground," he said.
The court heard that the police officer saw a male pedestrian who was standing at the side of the road.
The officer turned the flashing lights and siren on but Baker continued to drive across several junctions without stopping and was driving far to fast for the road conditions, the court heard.
Baker continued to speed ahead for a short distance before pulling over in a layby near Ilton, with the total pursuit lasting around 10km.
"On investigation the officer found a small amount of cannabis in the car but the driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol," Mr Richings said.
Defending, Joseph Wright said Baker was frustrated as he felt capable of driving, after having around 30 lessons, but he had not passed his theory test.
"It was foolish and destructive and someone could have seriously hurt or killed, it is fortunate that no-one was.
"He knows he was lucky and he has shown remorse," Mr Wright.
Judge Daniel Evans said it was lucky Baker did not 'seriously injure or kill someone'.
"You are 18, and have no previous convictions, but today I must sentence you for an offence of dangerous driving," he said.
"You drove at excessive speeds around blind bends, down narrow roads and went through give way junctions without slowing down before you finally pulled over.
"You panicked because you had a small amount of cannabis in the car but it would have been a lot better for you if you had stopped.
"This was not just a laugh or dim-witted behaviour. I have sentenced another young man for death by dangerous driving to a long term in prison – you could have easily seriously injured or even killed someone.
"You were not entitled to even be on the road."
Baker received a prison sentence of eight months suspended for 18 months. He was disqualified from driving and will have to take an extended re-test and ordered to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work.