A PARTIALLY sighted car thief led police on a high speed pursuit before getting stuck in the mud when he decided to drive off road.

Hapless Jason Gallagher, 44, was jailed for 18 months at Bolton Crown Court after pleading guilty to a string of driving offences including dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving without a valid licence following the incident in the early hours of November 26.

Colin Buckle, prosecuting, said it was around 3.30am when a householder at an address in Bury woke up and saw a male at the side of his car. He watched the man get into a silver Vauxhall Corsa and drive off after taking a wallet from his car.

Mr Buckle said at 3.48am, a police officer spotted the Corsa driving at speed along Bury New Road towards Bolton before turning down Radcliffe Moor Road.

The officer gave chase in his car and said he reached speeds of 98 mph along Millthorpe Road. but was unable to catch the Corsa which drove through a set of red traffic lights before driving onto Fairmont Avenue and then into a field where the car got stuck in the mud and the pursuit continued on foot. Gallagher, of Withins Drive, Bolton, was arrested and the wallet recovered.

Mr Buckle added that Gallagher had “a significant antecedent history” with multiple convictions for aggravated vehicle taking and was disqualified from driving until January 2022. In 2018 he was jailed for 12 months after another high speed pursuit along Deepdale Road in Bolton which had ended in the defendant being caught by a police dog.

Andrew Scott. defending, said Gallagher had suffered from an “entrenched drug addiction” for 20 years but there was “a glimmer of hope” as he had been engaging well with services.

Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh, said Gallagher’s 127 previous offences was an aggravating factor as was the fact he was partially sighted.

“You have an appalling record for offences relating to motor vehicles,” he added, handing Gallagher consecutive sentences of 14 months for dangerous driving and two months each for driving while disqualified and theft.

He was also disqualified from driving for a further five years and nine months.