A QUARRY Bank motorist who led police on a high speed pursuit because he feared they would find cannabis in his car, has avoided jail.

During the chase Ashley Pemberton hit speeds of 80mph, went through traffic lights on red, overtook vehicles on the wrong side of the road and forced other drivers to take action to avoid a collision.

"This was a seriously bad piece of dangerous driving," Judge Michael Dudley told the 24-year-old.

"Potentially you put a number of other people at risk."

Pemberton, who had driven at speed down one road where children were playing, was finally caught when he drove into a cul-de-sac, said Howard Searle, prosecuting.

He told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Pemberton then abandoned his Vauxhall Astra and ran away but he was quickly caught after a short chase on foot by police officers.

Mr Searle said patrolling police officers had seen the Astra in the Merry Hill area being driven "well over the speed limit" and they decided to follow.

But Pemberton, of Birch Avenue, failed to stop, despite the patrol car sounding its siren and flashing its blue lights.

He admitted driving dangerously and failing to stop for police and he was given a six month jail term, suspended for 18 months.

Pemberton was further told he must carry out 180 hours unpaid work in the community, was placed on supervision for 18 months and ordered to obey a four month curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am.

Adrian Stephens, defending Pemberton, who was also disqualified from driving for 18 months, said he accepted he had behaved "stupidly" adding, "This was prompted by the fear of being caught with cannabis in his car."

The court was told Pemberton had admitted possessing a small amount of cannabis for personal use and he had earlier been fined by Magistrates for the offence.