A MAN has been jailed after leading police on a high speed chase while trying to escape with more than £20,000 worth of heroin in his car.

James Docherty was chased down on Bolton Road, Radcliffe, by officers in cars and eventually by a police helicopter while carrying up to £23,000 worth of heroin in his black Range Rover, along with an axe and a small amount of cannabis.

At a sentencing on Thursday, Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Docherty, 48, of Criterion Street, Stockport, could have put lives in danger.

Judge Mark Saville said: “Somebody could have been killed.”

He added: “You know from your own experience that one word describes heroin, misery and you were, albeit on a lower level involved part and parcel in the supply of that terrible drug.”

Prosecutor Brian Berlyne told the court how on September 2 2020 Docherty had led police on a high speed chase in which he ran through red lights, onto the pavement and on the wrong side of the road.

Eventually he drove over a playing field and abandoned his car before being chased down by the police helicopter.

All this was to escape officers while acting as a drugs currier carrying between £15,000 and £23,000 worth of heroin with 799 snap bags.

Officers also discovered an axe in his car and a “small amount” of cannabis resin “presumably intended for personal use.”

Defence counsel Helena Williams explained that Docherty had pleaded guilty to his offences and that his previous crimes had occurred many years ago.

She told the court that he had previously tried to stay away from crime and support himself by legitimate means before his most recent offences.

But Judge Saville ruled that given the seriousness of his crimes, a prison sentence was the only correct response.

He said: “Unfortunately, crime came knocking again and I’m afraid you couldn’t resist the temptation.”

He added: “James Docherty, you are 48 years old, and you are frankly getting too old for this type of behaviour.”

Docherty was jailed for 40 months concurrently for possession of drugs with intent to supply and dangerous driving.