TWO drivers have been banned from the road after they raced each other at more than 130mph following an engine-revving row at a set of traffic lights.

Strangers Matthew Hodson and Adam Prescott became annoyed with each other as they waited at red traffic lights in De Havilland Way, Bolton Crown Court heard yesterday. But unknown to them a chief traffic police officer was behind them in an unmarked car when the lights turned green and they raced away on the dual carriageway.

Hodson, aged 25, was driving a black Astra, while 24-yearold Prescott was behind the wheel of a white Honda Civic when the incident happened just before 8pm on March 6.

Each man had a female passenger beside them and, at the time, Prescott was on bail awaiting sentence for possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Antony Longworth, prosecuting, told how Insp Phil Bromley, Bolton’s most senior traffic police officer, followed the two vehicles, who were travelling at up to 80mph in a 40mph zone.

At one point Prescott undertook the Astra then had to pull sharply out of the lane to avoid hitting a slower vehicle in the road ahead.

Both cars were seen going all the way round the roundabout at up to 55mph before exiting on to the southbound carriageway of the M61.

Hodson and Prescott were racing at more than 130mph — so fast that the police car almost lost sight of them — for a mile before the volume of traffic slowed them down and they gave up the race.

Insp Bromley continued following the Astra, eventually stopping Hodson in Deane Road.

Hodson told the officer that he had been “aggravated” by Prescott, who he did not know, revving his engine.

When asked whether he was racing, Hodson replied: “Well you could call it that I suppose.”

Prescott was stopped at a petrol station near the M61 junction 5 at Hunger Hill by a colleague of Insp Bromley.

Hodson, of Hamilton Street, Atherton, and Prescott, of Hartley Street, Horwich, both pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Sentencing both men to a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, the Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson, told them that they had only narrowly avoided being jailed immediately.

“It was an extremely dangerous piece of driving.

Fortunately for you, you didn’t lose control of your vehicles, otherwise both of you could be facing a dreadfully serious charge,” he said.

As well as the suspended jail sentences, Judge Clayson ordered each of the men to do 200 hours of unpaid work and banned them both from driving for two years, after which they will have to take an extended driving test to regain their licences.