A 39-year-old Stonehouse man who drove dangerously for almost a mile while being pursued by police has avoided an immediate jail term at Gloucester Crown Court.

Prosecutor Alec Daymond told the court on Thursday that on June 9, 2020 police on patrol on the M5 were alerted to a wanted vehicle, a black Volkswagen Golf, being driven past them.

“Neil Rigby was known to be in possession of this vehicle and was wanted for recall to prison.

“Just before Gloucester Services the officers illuminated the blue lights indicating for Rigby to pull off the motorway. Rigby seemed to be complying with the request but at the last moment he pulled back onto the motorway.

“When Rigby exited the motorway at junction 12 a trained pursuit officer took over.

“Rigby entered the B4008 and he headed towards Cross Keys roundabout at Hardwicke.

"Rigby began weaving between lanes as he overtook and undertook cars.

“At the Cross Key’s roundabout Rigby took the A38 exit towards Whitminster.

“As he got to the junction with Pound Lane, Rigby conducted a U-turn into the open junction. The pursuit officer decided to engage in a low speed contact with the Golf to prevent it being driven away.

“A slow speed collision occurred, after which Rigby reversed and drove down Pound Lane for around 50 metres and collided with another vehicle. A number of other police vehicles were able to box the Golf in."

Rigby was found in possession of both cannabis and cocaine at levels consistent with personal use and valued at a total of £20.

Steven Young defending said: “Rigby’s pre-sentence report doesn’t make good reading. However this offence was committed two years ago and he hasn’t come before the courts since then.

“Rigby has begun to turn his life around, thanks to a charity who are supporting him.

Rigby, of Adelaide Gardens, pleaded guilty to driving dangerously without a licence or insurance and possession of cannabis and cocaine.

Stroud News and Journal: Neil RigbyNeil Rigby

Judge Ian Lawrie QC told Rigby: “You should be going into custody. However I’ve heard you have had a settled life for the past year.

“This was an appalling piece of driving during which you put other motorists at risk."

The judge sentenced Rigby to an 18 month prison term suspended for two years and banned him from driving for three years.