A BANNED driver attempted to escape police by driving the wrong way up a motorway.

In a 30 minute pursuit Christopher Brizell careered at high speed through red lights in Bolton and Bury and drove on the wrong side of the road before heading onto the motorway and finally crashing near Huddersfield.

At Bolton Brown Court the 30-year-old was jailed for 17 months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst banned and having no insurance.

Duncan Wilcock, prosecuting, told the court how Brizell was first spotted driving a Hyundai car at 2.20am on December 9, travelling through a red light at the junction of Tonge Moor Road and Crompton Way, heading towards Bury Road.

But he refused to stop, driving at up to 80mph in a 30mph limit and, on Bury Road, crashed into railings at the junction with Blenheim Road.

Despite damaging a wheel, Brizell continued attempting to flee, leaving a trail of sparks.

Mr Wilcock told how the driver sped along Long Lane towards Darcy Lever, into Little Lever and headed towards Radcliffe, at one point he causing another motorist to make an emergency stop.

“He made numerous turns in an attempt to evade the officers, even driving on the wrong side of the road,” said Mr Wilcock.

On Bury New Road he headed towards Whitefield before joining the M60. Despite several police vehicles and a helicopter joining in the chase Brizell, of Dollond Street, Moston, drove at up to 100mph and turned into Birch Services on the M62. He did a circuit of the car park before heading back onto the carriageway in the wrong direction.Brizell then used all three lanes to do a U-turn and continue his 30 mile journey until he crashed into a barrier.

The court heard Brizell had previously been caught behind the wheel twice after being banned for drink driving.

Adrian Palmer, defending, described Brizell’s driving as “reprehensible and ill thought out.” “He panicked,” he said.

Jailing Brizell and banning him from the driving for four years and eight months, The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Timothy Clayson said: “There is absolutely no conceivable way that a sentence other than custody can be imposed.”

After the sentencing a police spokesman said:  "It's a miracle no one was seriously injured or killed by the reckless actions of this individual. It's testament to the skills and professionalism of the roads policing officers who kept the public safe during his pursuit.
"There is no place on our roads for individuals like this and we will use all available tactics and skills to stop these people and to prosecute them.
"The sentence sends out a warning to those who believe they can make off from the police and drive dangerously that they will be handed a custodial sentence."