A JUDGE has said it was a ‘miracle’ nobody was seriously injured or killed during a high-speed motorway police chase which lasted for over 10 minutes.

Steven Hargreaves was asked to pull over by officers after he was seen driving through two red lights on the M66 close to Simister Island at around midday on April 2.

But rather than stop, the 39-year-old embarked on a journey of dangerous driving reaching speeds of up to 110mph while being pursued by police.

Preston Crown Court heard how Hargreaves ‘narrowly missed’ another driver while speeding through the red lights, before he later attempted to perform a handbrake turn to go the wrong way down a slip road.

In a bid to escape police the defendant was seen undertaking several vehicles on the motorway’s hard shoulder before making the decision to come off the road and into a more residential area.

However he continued to drive in a dangerous and erratic manner, and was only stopped once a stinger device, used to puncture the wheels of the Audi A3 he was driving, was deployed.

Hargreaves then abandoned the car and ran off but was soon caught and arrested.

Defending Hargreaves, formerly of Anne Close, Burnley, James Heyworth said his client had ‘panicked’ when he saw the police coming after him.

He said: “There is no mitigation. The context the defendant wants me to put before you is that he should have been at home self-isolating, but his partner in Salford had no money and her electricity and lights had gone out.

“He went over there and then panicked when he saw the police. In hindsight it would have been much better for him to pull over and take the fine. Nobody was injured in this case but that was luck more than anything.”

Hargreaves has 42 previous convictions stemming from 126 offences – several of which are for dangerous driving. He is already in jail for a string of burglaries.

Sentencing him to a further six months in prison Judge Simon Medland QC said: “At the time, you were already under investigation for other offences which I have already sentenced you for and for whatever reason you embarked on a substantial period of very dangerous driving.

“This is one of those cases where it is getting on for a miracle that nobody was badly injured or worse.

“During the chase you attempted to perform a handbrake turn, if completed would have taken you the wrong way around the motorway slip road.

“You have a very bad record in general terms and for driving matters and undoubtedly this passes the custody threshold.”