A FATHER-TO-BE who led police on a six-minute chase through the streets of Keighley has been spared jail after an impassioned plea from his probation officer.

Darren Gill, 28, of West Lane, Keighley, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and the possession of cannabis at Bradford Crown Court yesterday.

The court heard that around 1am on December 16 last year, police were on patrol in Worth Way when they tried to stop a Vauxhall Corsa being driven by Gill.

He sped off along a number of side streets, failing to give way at junctions and driving on the wrong side of the road, at one point reaching speeds of around 70mph in a 30mph zone.

Gill lost control and crashed into a wall, but after reversing into a police car, he continued the chase towards Laycock, where he hit and damaged another two cars. After hitting another vehicle in Guardhouse Road, Gill fled the car and was detained by officers after a short foot chase.

Gareth Green, who has been Gill’s probation officer since he was released from prison for a burglary offence, wrote to the court to say that he was “someone who had made a conscious decision to turn his life around.”

He said Gill was due to become a father, and had the “potential to become a productive member of society.”

Mr Green said Gill had worked as a builder's labourer since last year and had engaged "very well" with his probation requirements, adding: "I would wish to make it know that I support a community disposal for this offence."

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said Mr Green’s intervention was “quite exceptional”, and agreed to defer any sentence for six months until February 6.

He told Gill, who was banned from driving with immediate effect, that he would need to demonstrate a "clean bill of health" in terms of his behaviour on his return to court if he was to avoid a custodial sentence.