A CRIMINAL was allowed home after ramming a police car and leading officers on a death-defying 15 mile high speed chase through residential streets in the rain.

Danger driver Karl Dymott, who has more than two dozen previous convictions, was eventually stopped and arrested but, the same day, was released under investigation by police.

A judge at Bolton Crown Court yesterday described that decision as “astonishing”.

“It is disquieting that he was released from custody in those circumstances,” said Judge Timothy Stead.

Three months later, in July, he was caught behind the wheel of a car again and sentenced for careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and driving while banned.

Outlining the offences committed by 45-year-old Dymott on April 3, Duncan Wilcock, prosecuting, told how he was spotted by police driving a Kia Ceed which was on false number plates. It had previously been stolen by others from a disabled driver who was then left housebound for a week.

Dymott, driving the car, stole petrol, worth £97.99 from the Tesco Express on Bolton Road, Bury and then stole a further £117.84 of fuel from Sainsbury’s in Westhoughton.

Shortly afterwards police spotted it and Dymott sped off at up to 87mph along residential streets, in the rain.

During the chase Dymott hit another car, went through red lights and the wrong way around a traffic island and reversed into the perusing police car, slightly njuring an officer.

“It was an extraordinary and dangerous piece of driving,” said Judge Stead. “To say it was persistent understates it.”

Dymott, of Wordsworth Avenue, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, driving while banned, two counts of making off without payment and having no insurance.

Harriet Tighe, defending, told the court that Dymott’s father had died in March.

“That led him to a very dark place and he felt overwhelmed and unable to cope with his emotions,” she said, adding Dymott, who has a drug addiction, is remorseful.

“He accepts that he panicked and his actions were completely stupid,” she said.

The court heard that Dymott has 25 convictions for 64 offences, including several driving convictions.

Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Dymott to 13 months in prison and banned him from applying for a driving licence for three years, after which he will have to take an extended retest.

He told the defendant: “You’re 45 and my impression is that you are certainly an an unintelligent man.

“Clearly, over a long period of time things have been very difficult for you as a result of drug addiction.

“If you don’t rid yourself this pattern of lifestyle your health will suffer if it hasn’t already.”

Dymott’s partner, Victoria Critchley, who was in the car with him at the time is accused of aggravated vehicle taking and two counts of making off without payment. She is wanted by police after failing to surrender to court.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “We are aware of the judge’s comments and are assessing the situation.”