A FATHER-of-seven who fled from police before crashing in a field has been jailed.

Graeme McIndoe, 36, of Bowling Park Drive, Bradford, appeared before Bradford Crown Court to face a charge of dangerous driving around the Bradford South area.

He pleaded guilty ahead of trial.

While the court heard details of his strong work ethic, glowing character references and the hardship a jail sentence would cause his family, Judge Jonathan Rose told him: “The damage done to your business, to your family is entirely your responsibility.”

Officers were on patrol in a marked vehicle on February 2 last year when they spotted McIndoe driving a Mercedes and wearing a balaclava.

Given the time of night, around a quarter past midnight, their suspicions were raised so they began to pursue the Mercedes, which accelerated away over the 30mph speed limit and swerved between traffic calming measures.

Police activated their blue lights and sirens and the court heard that at one point, the Mercedes was driven at over 60mph. Officers accelerated to 70mph, but McIndoe and his passenger sped away towards the Euroway Industrial Estate.

A report then came through that the car had crashed through a field, colliding with a container and fence.

The court watched footage from police officers’ body-worn cameras, which showed a scene of destruction after the crash.

A balaclava was found in the back of the Mercedes.

“Why would a man driving legitimately, for legitimate purposes at 00.15am, with another man in the car, be wearing a balaclava?” Judge Rose questioned.

Saf Salam, for McIndoe, said he was under a lot of stress at the time, had “genuine remorse” and could not recall wearing a balaclava, though accepted one was found.

He wanted to get away from the police as his passenger was smoking cannabis - an explanation the judge said he did not accept.

McIndoe had no relevant previous convictions and had not offended since the dangerous driving incident.

But sentencing him to 12 months imprisonment, Judge Rose told him: “There was no good reason for you to drive like this.”

He said he could only draw the conclusion it was to avoid police.

“You were trying to evade the police,” the judge told him and said lives had been put in jeopardy.

As well as the 12 months’ imprisonment, McIndoe was banned from driving for two-and-a-half years and will have to take an extended retest.