A man who jumped three red lights when he led the police on a chase around central Bradford panicked because he had cannabis in his car, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Mohammed Azam threw three joints out of his Seat Leon while being pursued by a patrol car after speeding off from two police motorcyclists.

Azam, 21, of Undercliffe Lane, Bradford, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on August 13, 2019, and was today sentenced to a two-year community order with 280 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Andrew Petterson said the police spotted Azam driving on Woodhead Road. He appeared to turn abruptly in the opposite direction, sharply negotiating a mini roundabout.

He was followed on to Shearbridge Road and stopped his car when ordered to by the police motorcyclists. But as one of them was about to approach his vehicle, he turned the engine back on and drove off.

The court heard that an officer in a patrol car saw the Seat shortly afterwards, at 8.20pm. Azam was told to stop but he accelerated away at up to 50mph in a 30 zone, running a red light.

Mr Petterson said that other police officers were deployed to the area to help to apprehend him.

Azam increased his speed to up to 60mph and drove through a second red light, forcing another vehicle to brake sharply.

He went on to drive on the wrong side of the road and ignore a third red light before throwing a package out of the car towards three young males.

He then went down a side street, stopped and was detained.

Azam told the police he panicked because he had three cannabis joints in the car.

Mr Petterson said it was a ten-minute pursuit at excessive speeds.

Azam had no previous convictions at the time but he had since been prosecuted for care-less driving.

His barrister, Mr M A Qazi, drew the judge’s attention to a hand-written letter by Azam expressing his remorse, as well as many testimonials speaking of his charity work.

Mr Qazi said the offence was 20 months ago and Azam had since got a responsible job with HM Revenue and Customs.

He hailed from “a fantastic family” who were supportive and hard working.

“He had just hit a very difficult patch in his life,” Mr Qazi said, adding that no one was injured in the “one-off” incident.

Recorder Felicity Davies banned Azam from driving for 12 months and until he takes an extended retest.

He was also ordered to undergo a rehabilitation activity requirement and to pay £600 to-wards the prosecution costs.