A man has been sentenced after wielding a machete and ramming police during a high speed chase earlier this year.

James Barker, aged 21, appeared at Bolton Crown Court for dangerous driving, criminal damage and for possessing a bladed article in public.

Barker, of Browning Avenue, Atherton, pleaded guilty to the offences at previous court hearings.

On March 28 this year, a police officer  on duty in Atherton was approached by a member of the public.

Prosecuting, Imran Khan said: "He was informed by the member of the public that a strange man jumped over their fence and told her to shush."

Police officers checked the area, and upon seeing them, Barker "abruptly changed directions".

Mr Khan continued: "Police caught him and searched the alley where he had been. They found a large machete in a sheath."

On April 24 this year, another police officer was driving in the Atherton area when he saw a Ford Transit Connect being driven by Barker.

Mr Khan said: "He noticed the vehicle was moving at speed and accelerated away through red lights.

"He pursued the vehicle through Leigh, Atherton and Howe Bridge. The defendant reached speeds of over 70mph in a 30mph zone.

"Twice he brought the van to a halt, put it into reverse and rammed the police vehicle.

"He contravened red traffic lights and travelled the wrong way down a number of one way streets. The pursuit lasted 12 minutes."

He added that Barker committed this driving offence while on bail for the machete offence.

Defending, Martin Pizzey said: "His experience in custody has been significant. He turned 21 earlier this month and it was a very difficult time for him.

"He has reflected on his life and and life inside custody. He is fearful of those around him, 'paranoid' as he puts it. He is very keen to go on the straight and narrow."

He also mentioned diagnoses of ODD and ADHD as a child in Barker, and that given his young age it could be said he hasn't reached 'full maturity', which goes some way to explain his offending.

Concluding, Judge Martin Walsh said: "All too often, bladed articles in a public place can lead to catastrophic circumstances, and there is widespread concern about young people and knives.

"You were extremely dangerous driving. You drove through a red light, you were pursued by police through the Leigh, Atherton and Howe Bridge areas for 12 minutes, reaching speeds of over 70mph in 30mph limits.

"It is fortunate no one was killed as a result of how you drove the vehicle. The way you drove requires a custodial sentence by a significant degree."

He sentenced Barker to a combined 18 months imprisonment for all three offences.

Barker was also disqualified from driving for three years, extended for the nine months that he has already been in prison.