A DRIVER was pursued by police after taking his pal’s BMW and driving through the streets of Bolton at high speed.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Ramin Ahmadi was at his friend’s home in Moss Side on March 9, and took his car while he was at work.

At 4.30am, a police officer spotted the car being driven at high speed on the wrong side of Bury New Road, prosecutor Rachel White told the court.

During a chase, Ahmadi reached speeds of up to 70mph in a 30mph zone, ignoring red traffic lights at several junctions before finally stopping near Moses Gate.

The court was told that 21-year-old Ahmadi, from Iran, was over the drink-drive limit.

Ahmadi, of Longfield Road, Bolton, pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent, dangerous driving, drink-driving and having no insurance.

Nick Ross, defending, said Ahmadi was more used to driving in Iran.

He said: “He now understands that standards which apply in this country are very different to those of his native Iran."

He added that Ahmadi, who has no previous convictions, hopes to study microbiology at university.

Judge Timothy Stead sentenced him to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 160 hours unpaid work.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months and was also ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.

Judge Stead told Ahmadi: “It is fortunate for you that this was the middle of the night.

“You could have very easily have killed or maimed somebody.”