A BOY racer drove at “terrifying” speeds as he tried to evade capture after breaking into a house, a court heard.

Dougie Ward, 20, stole a BMW and a Tag Heuer watch from a home in Darwen before attempting to race back to Bolton alongside another driver in an Audi.

The high speed chase ended with both drivers crashing their cars with Ward, of Crompton Lodge Caravan Park in Farnworth, being taken to hospital with spinal injuries and a broken collar bone.

At Preston Crown Court, David Clarke, prosecuting, said Ian Smith, of Knowsley Road, Darwen, received a knock on the door from police officers at 1.30am on August 5, 2019, where they told him the locks to his house had been snapped and his car had been recovered elsewhere.

The officers explained that they had received reports that an Audi A3 and a BMW were being driven at 80mph in a 30mph zone on Blackburn Road heading towards Bolton.

A stinger device was activated on the BMW bringing it to a halt with the Audi crashing around 45 seconds later and the driver managing to escape.

Ward, who was wearing a balaclava and gloves, resisted arrest, but was put in a headlock and detained.

Inside the Audi, officers located a sledgehammer, crowbar, false registration plates, a drill, screwdriver and a strobe light intended to give the impression of an emergency vehicle.

Ward, who was 19 at the time of the incident, was taken to Salford Royal hospital with a number of injuries.

He later told police he had been asked to drive the BMW for £500, but later pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges along with dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

Mr Clarke added that Ward had 15 previous convictions for 28 offences, including burglary, car theft and handling stolen goods.

Martin Sharpe, defending, said Ward, a father of one, had married when he was 17 and his wife was heavily pregnant.

“He has completely blotted his copy book because he had gone on the straight and narrow when he got married,” said Mr Sharpe. “Aged 19 he went off the rails again and he puts this down to not thinking properly and grief because of the loss of two close friends.”

Handing Ward a 32 month sentence, Judge Andrew Jefferies QC, said: “You drove in a way that was frankly terrifying."

“These are very serious offences and the public need to know that the Court simply does not recognise people breaking into their houses in the middle of the night.”

Ward was also disqualified from driving for three years and four months.