A man who led the police on a blue light pursuit after he was spotted driving the wrong way down Bradford’s Shipley/Airedale Road has been spared an immediate jail sentence.

Mohammed Liaqat was at the wheel of a silver Mercedes C220 and had a half-drunk bottle of Southern Comfort in the car with him when he accelerated off.

Liaqat, 38, of Brantwood Villas, Heaton, Bradford, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol at just after 1am on January 4.

Bradford Crown Court heard on Friday that he had 11 previous convictions for 18 offences, including driving while disqualified in 2012.

Liaqat was seen by the police driving the wrong way along the Shipley/Airedale Road towards Barkerend Road. He jumped a red light and two oncoming vehicles had to swerve to avoid him.

He pulled on to a layby and when the police vehicle came up alongside him, he reversed and then sped off on the correct side of the road.

He was pursued at 66mph in a 30 zone before driving on to Edderthorpe Street and into a dead end.

The court heard that Liaqat was then in a stand-off with the police after his passenger got out of the vehicle.

Police officers reported that his speech was slurred and he smelt of intoxicants.

When he was arrested, the half-drunk bottle of Southern Comfort was recovered from the Mercedes.

Liaqat was found to have 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

His barrister, Abigail Langford, said he was struggling at the time. He was effectively living in the car and his home was about to be repossessed.

He was drinking more alcohol than was good for him and he panicked when he saw the police.

Liaqat had since set up a business and was making a success of it, despite the difficult Covid-19 trading conditions.

He had written to the court expressing his remorse and character references were handed in from his employees.

Miss Langford said Liaqat had a wife and five children to support.

She urged Recorder Kirstie Watson to follow the probation service recommendation and spare him an immediate custodial sentence.

Liaqat was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 150 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity days.

He was banned from driving for 12 months.