A financially desperate father who bought false number plates from a car boot sale to use his uninsured vehicle to find work has been spared an immediate jail sentence for dangerous driving.

Irfan Zaib’s children were hungry and he was down to his last £2 for the gas electricity meters when he was caught driving a silver Mercedes hatchback with no licence or insurance following a police chase, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Zaib, 37, accelerated away along Great Horton Road on to Windermere Road and back on to Great Horton Road before pulling up and being arrested, the court heard.

During the chase, Zaib, of Lower Rushton Road, Thornbury, Bradford, did two U turns to try to shake off the police vehicle.

He also overtook at speed on a blind corner and ran a red light, the court was told.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and having no licence or insurance at 11.45pm on October 18 last year.

Prosecutor Paul Nicholson told the court on Tuesday that the Mercedes was on false number plates.

Zaib, a father of four, had previous convictions for careless driving and failing to provide a specimen.

His barrister, Nick Worsley, said Zaib had suffered the tragic losses of his wife and his mother.

His anxiety and depression following his bereavements meant that his business had folded and that he was subsequently now desperately short of money.

“The debt collector is literally banging on the door,” Mr Worsley told the court.

“He was struggling to look after himself let alone his family.”

Zaib had been promised money to drive the car that night for an offer of work, Mr Worsley said.

He put the vehicle, that was being stored on his property, on false plates to avoid being detected for driving without insurance.

Zaib, who had remarried, was at the end of his tether trying to provide for his family, Mr Worsley said.

Judge Jonathan Rose, accepted that Zaib’s family was in “a parlous position.”

But he told him: “You had no right to be driving at all.”

Judge Rose spared Zaib immediate custody after reading “moving and upsetting letters” from two of his children.

The letters detailed the impact that their father going to prison would have on the family.

“They will not be deprived on their father,” Judge Rose said.

He jailed Zaib for six months, suspended for two years, with a nine month curfew order, a rehabilitation activity requirement with the probation service and a three year driving ban.

“Do not drive or you will go to prison,” Judge Rose warned.