A FATHER-OF-TWO who drove like an “imbecile” during a 13-minute police chase has been spared jail.

Shahid Iqbal, 26, reached speeds of 78mph in a 30mph zone and 60mph in a 20mph area as he sped away from officers who saw him driving a Seat Leon in Bierley Lane shortly before midnight on June 14.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Abdul Shakoor told Bradford Crown Court: “This defendant falls to be sentenced for dangerous driving”, to which Judge David Hatton QC remarked: “Yes, there’s a lot of that in this city isn’t there.”

Mr Shakoor said that as officers indicated for Iqbal to stop on Rooley Lane, he accelerated away, driving at “high speeds in residential areas”.

At various points during the chase, he drove for around 200 metres along the pavement at 30mph, had sparks coming from his brakes, and ignored three red lights, including one at a junction with six lanes of traffic, forcing other drivers to take evasive action.

The pursuit came to an end when Iqbal, of Boynton Street, West Bowling, crashed into a parked car after being blocked in by police vehicles.

He was detained, but then released for medical treatment after breaking his arm during the arrest.

When interviewed on July 2, he said he “panicked” after seeing police as he had no insurance and was “scared” he would lose his driving licence and job.

A probation report highlighted that Iqbal’s offending was “out of character”, citing his lack of previous convictions and his job working in a hostel for Horton Housing for the past six years.

It stated he had accepted his actions and “hadn’t tried to minimise the harm he could have caused”.

Khadim Al’Hassan, for Iqbal, said his client, whose partner is due to have a third child in December, admitted he had made a “gross error of judgement”.

He said he had been “utterly humiliated” by the incident but had now “learnt his lesson.”

Agreeing with a recommendation from the probation service to impose a suspended sentence, Judge Hatton told Iqbal: “From what I have read, you are a man with a lot of decent qualities who does a lot of good.

“But, on this particular evening, you behaved and drove like an imbecile.

“No-one was injured, but that was more by luck than anything else. Your driving was quite appalling.

“You are clearly extremely remorseful, embarrassed, and chastened.

“Dangerous driving will always result in a prison sentence, but I don’t believe it is in the public interest that you serve it immediately.”

Iqbal was jailed for ten months, suspended for a year, given 150 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £100 costs. He was banned from driving for a year and must take an extended re-test.