A DANGER driver who sped off at 70mph in a 20 zone when the streets were busy with Ramadan worshippers has escaped an immediate jail sentence.

Father of three Arfan Riaz accelerated along Scotchman Road, Manningham, Bradford, in his Skoda Fabia after the police suspected cannabis had been smoked in the vehicle.

Riaz, 44, of Haslingden Drive, Girlington, Bradford, swerved, lurched to the right and narrowly avoided a collision before disappearing off up Toller Lane, Bradford Crown Court heard this week.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at 10.15pm on May 11 last year and was sentenced to five months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Judge Jonathan Rose told the court he was bound to be “true and faithful” to a Goodyear Indication made by another judge when Riaz pleaded guilty to the offence on January 16.

Such an indication binds the court to the maximum sentence that would follow a defendant’s guilty plea.

The court heard that the Skoda, with Riaz at the wheel and three passengers on board, did an aggressive U turn before speeding off up the narrow road, with traffic calming measures and lined with parked vehicles.

Officers had suspected the occupants of the Skoda to have been smoking cannabis but had not found any drugs.

The court heard that it was only by good fortune that Riaz did not cause a collision.

The police reported that he avoided a crash by “a matter of inches.”

He was arrested a week later at his home, telling officers: “I went at a bit of speed but I could handle the driving.”

His barrister, John Harding, said he was a family man with no relevant previous convictions.

The car was legally licensed and insured and Riaz had not been drinking.

The dangerous driving lasted for little over 500 yards and there was no damage or injury.

Judge Rose said Riaz must have known that people were going about their business to mark Ramadan.

The busier the roads were, the more potential victims there could have been.

“Offences of dangerous driving are rife in this city and the courts’ response should be the imposition of a prison sentence but one of my legal brothers has given a Goodyear Indication and I must be true and faithful to that,” he said.

Riaz was banned from driving for 30 months.

He must undertake a rehabilitation activity requirement with the probation service, do 180 hours of unpaid work and must obey a three-month overnight curfew.