A TEENAGER who led police on a Christmas Eve dangerous drive through Bolton has been told that he could have caused a catastrophe.

Bakery worker Aaron Banks was high on cocaine and cannabis when he drove a Fiat Punto at speed just before 6pm

Bolton Crown Court heard how police first spotted the car on Wigan Road and decided to follow it after noticing it was exceeding the 40mph limit.

Claire Brocklebank, prosecuting, told how Banks, who had three passengers in the car, refused to stop.

"He constantly went over the speed limit, travelled on the wrong side of the road overtaking cars and, at one stage, went over a roundabout at 65mph. Other cars had to brake or stop to avoid a collision," she said.

The car was eventually abandoned in Lostock and the occupants ran off while the Punto rolled into a parked car.

The police helicopter, which had been observing the pursuit, guided officers towards 19-year-old Banks and he was arrested.

He told police: "I'm sorry, I should have stopped. I just panicked."

Banks, of Doyle Road, Bolton, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, two counts of drug driving, having no insurance and driving without a licence.

Nicholas Ross, defending, told the court: "The defendant is very keen to emphasise his remorse."

He added that Banks, who has no previous convictions, now has a new job in the construction industry.

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh, told him: "It is by sheer good fortune that catastrophe was avoided."

Banks was sentenced to 42 weeks in a young offenders' institution, suspended for two years.

He was also made subject to an intensive community order for 12 months, must undertake25 days of rehabilitation activities and 140 hours of unpaid work.

In addition he was electronically tagged and made subject to a 9pm to 6am curfew for 12 weeks.

Doyle was banned from applying for a licence for three years, after which he will have to take an extended driving test and he was ordered to pay £420 towards prosecution