A teenage boy led police on a 60mph scrambler bike chase after attending a ‘ride out’ at his friend’s funeral.
But police said they blocked roads and their “reckless” actions left residents “frightened and intimidated”.
Liverpool Crown Court today heard how officers pursued Hughes for about 10 minutes as he did twice the speed limit, mounted a pavement and shot through a red light after “panicking” when on a scrambler bike he had rented for £100.
The ECHO previously reported how officers arrested riders before and after the funeral and seized bikes, on Monday, January 25 this year.
Police were called to Maple Avenue in Newton-Le-Willows at around 10am, after receiving reports of dangerous bike riders.
The court heard an officer spotted Hughes on a bike on Scafell Road, under East Lancs Road, at around 1pm.
He approached but the teen sped off, undertaking stationary traffic on Carr Mill Road, then momentarily riding towards oncoming traffic, causing them to brake and swerve to avoid a crash.
Paul Blasbery, prosecuting, said Hughes headed in the direction of Billinge, doing 50mph in a 60mph zone, then dangerously undertook vehicles, before entering a 30mph zone, where he hit speeds of 60mph.
On the approach to Billinge he took a bend too wide and mounted the pavement, then went through a red light, as a force helicopter joined the chase.
Hughes eventually went down a farmer’s track off Newton Road, where he got off the bike and was found standing next to it when he was arrested.
Mr Blasbery said Hughes said he had been to a friend’s funeral and had rented the bike for £100 for the day, but later gave a no comment interview.
Hughes, now 18, of Acorn Street, Newton-le-Willows, admitted dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance.
Anthony O’Donohoe, defending, said his client was “extremely apologetic” and had turned up to court “dressed very smartly, which perhaps gives an indication of the respect he gives to the court, your honour and this process”.
He said: “He’s extremely fearful. What stands out from the pre-sentence report is the defendant’s immaturity and the situation.
“A very close friend of his had taken his life very sadly. Someone who had arranged the funeral had decided as some form of tribute to that young man that attendees, or most of the attendees, should turn up on motorbikes. The defendant went along with that decision.
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“He was an inexperienced rider to say the least – that’s probably what brought him to the attention of the police officer – and he simply panicked when the lights and sirens were put on.”
Mr O’Donohoe suggested it wasn’t a prolonged chase and “thankfully” no harm or damage or injury was done to anyone.
He said Hughes’ behaviour was “completely out of character”, he lived with his mum and sister, and had a job as a builder’s labourer.
Mr O’Donohoe said: “He no longer has any cannabis issues, he has stopped taking cannabis completely, and drinks moderately and only on rare occasions.
“There is every prospect in my respectful submission of this young man being completely rehabilitated.”
Judge Denis Watson, QC, told the teenager: “Driving dangerously on public roads creates risks of serious injury and death. It’s more serious in your case because of the police pursuit.”
He said it was a “prolonged” chase and those trying to get away from the police take risks.
The judge said: “If you had stopped straight away, what’s the worst that would have happened? No insurance, no driving licence, magistrates court, financial penalties and penalty points.
“Now you’ve completely changed the landscape by your decision. You’ve put yourself at real risk of a prison sentence and you’re going to be disqualified and you’re going to have to take an extended retest.”
However, the judge told Hughes that Mr O’Donohoe had successfully persuaded him the crimes were “really just a function of your youth and poor decision making through lack of maturity”.
He said: “Because you’re still 18, you’ve no previous convictions, because of this, I’m going to give you a chance.”
Judge Watson handed him an 18-month community order, with 140 hours of unpaid work and a 10-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.
He also banned Hughes from driving for 12 months.
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