A TEENAGER who led police on a high-speed chase in Brighouse at double the speed limit while never passing a driving test has been spared custody.

The judge said it had been "fairly short of miraculous" that Lewis O'Toole, 19, did not kill or injure anyone during the lengthy pursuit on residential and rural roads between Brighouse and Bradford in September last year.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the teenager had fled from an unmarked police car, and did not stop despite blue lights being activated.

It was only after a marked police car joined the pursuit that O'Toole eventually pulled over - but this was after driving straight across a busy junction and running a red light on the opposite side of the road.

Judge Jonathan Rose described it as "an appalling, prolonged, piece of dangerous driving", sentencing O'Toole to 12 months, before agreeing to suspend it for two years.

Prosecutor Claire Walsh told the court that O'Toole had been driving a white Vauxhall van on Saturday, September 29 at around 6pm in the evening, in Clifton near Brighouse.

"On sighting the unmarked police vehicle the defendant accelerated and made off."

He drove at 60mph in residential area where the speed limit was 30mph, she said, adding that he turned on to a narrow country road where visibility was poor and the sun was low.

She described how he reached a junction with the main A641 Bradford Road and drove straight across, somehow avoiding a collision.

He then drove at 40mph in a housing estate before reaching the main road and running through a red traffic light on the wrong side of the road.

"The lights were red and he overtook stationary vehicles on the wrong side of the road, forcing an oncoming vehicle to mount the pavement," she said.

Helen White, for O'Toole, said in mitigation that he had undiagnosed mental health issues.

She said while he had initially continued the bad driving as a liveried police car had appeared behind him, he had not caused any injuries or a collision.

In sentencing Judge Rose warned O'Toole that if he committed any further offences in the next two years or did not complete 250 hours of work in the community, he would be locked up for 12 months.

"You took a deliberate decision from the very outset to commit criminal offences - in the first place you had no licence to drive at all."

He added that he struggled to accept O'Toole's initial explanation that he was not sure the unmarked car was actually a police vehicle, despite the blue lights.

O'Toole, of Wales Road, Rotherham, was also disqualified from driving for three years.