A man who ‘covered his face’ in order to try and avoid detection by the police reached speeds of 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Tahir Afsar, aged 39, led officers on a chase through Farnworth and Bolton on January 7, hitting excessive speeds, all whilst being disqualified from driving.

Afsar, of Rawson Street, Farnworth, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and for failing to cooperate with a preliminary test.

He was sentenced for the offences at Bolton Crown Court on February 12.

Prosecuting, Anthony Horsfall said: “On January 7 this year, PC Jacob Forster was on mobile patrol in Farnworth.

“On Higher Market Street, a BMW 118 passed him in the other direction, its driver was trying to cover his face with his hand.

“The officer turned around to catch up, and the BMW’s speed immediately increased.”

The police were led on a chase around the Farnworth area, where the BMW reached speeds of 70mph in 30mph zones, driving on the wrong side of the road.

Mr Horsfall added: “Driving onto Bolton Road, he reached speeds of up to 80mph in a 30mph zone.”

He then drove in “circles around a traffic island three times” before braking suddenly from 64mph down to 34mph, which the officer saw as an attempt to cause him to hit the rear of the BMW, the court heard.

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The defendant, appearing via video link, refuted the idea that he had driven at 80mph, saying: “What you are saying, I don’t think is right.”

However, he added: “I just want to get it (the court case) over and done with.”

Mr Horsfall told the court that the defendant led police through backstreets, doing “multiple laps” and not slowing down for give way signs – even travelling through some of them at 50mph. 

The Bolton News: Tahir AfsarTahir Afsar (Image: GMP)

The pursuing officers in the car lost sight of him, but a police helicopter was also following the defendant by this point and continued to track him.

It saw him stop the car, get out and enter an address.

Mr Horsfall said: “Upon knocking at the address, a female opened the door. She initially claimed to have no knowledge, before saying that the driver had fled via the rear of the property.

“The helicopter operative said no one had left, and upon a search of the property, officers found a male upstairs, fully clothed and sweating profusely as if he had been running.”

He was identified as Tahir Afsar and arrested. After being put into a police car, he was asked to do a breath sample but refused.

The prosecutor told the court he had 22 previous convictions, including for drug-related offences, breaches of court orders and driving offences – one of which was failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

He also committed these offences while subject to a 15-month suspended sentence, which was imposed in March last year.

Defending, Oliver Jarvis said: “There is a letter the defendant has written to your honour.

“The defendant is deeply sorry and accepts the stupidity of his behaviour, he says he wasn’t thinking straight and did stop the vehicle no crash or collision, when realising what he had done the defendant panicked, realised he had been disqualified.

“He had been rebuilding his life. He drove because his friend was in distress in a local petrol station, having been threatened with a knife.”

Mr Jarvis told the court how Afsar has a wife and four children.

He also highlighted how the pre-sentence report noted he had been making “real strides” and had been complying with the conditions of his suspended sentence.

Concluding, Recorder Andrew Long said: “I don’t know what possessed you to drive on the night in question. This was a prolonged police pursuit involving grossly excessive speeds, driving on the wrong side of the road and it is a minor miracle no one was killed.

“You have an appalling record of previous convictions, which has severely aggravated the position you find yourself in.”

He sentenced him to a year’s imprisonment.