A DRIVER has been jailed after he tried to outrun the police at 100 mph at night by switching his lights off.

Robin Freeman was pursued at high speed for eight minutes on the M5 through East and Mid Devon and carried on driving on his wheel rims at 60 to 70 mph until police boxed him in and stopped him.

He said he had been driving erratically because he had been rolling a cigarette while phoning his wife but police later found two small pots of crack cocaine in his rucksack.

Police said the pursuit was particularly dangerous because it took place at 6am on March 8 last year when there was a yellow weather warning in place for ice, sleet was falling the there was slush in the fast lane.

Freeman, aged 30, of Hodson Close, Paignton, admitted dangerous driving and personal possession of cocaine and was jailed for 12 months and banned from driving for a year after his release by Judge James Adkin at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “You drove at 100 mph and turned the lights off to seek to make it more difficult for the police to follow you and continued driving at 60 to 70 mph with the tyres deflated.

“On any scale, it was a persistent and extremely dangerous police chase. The combination of the road conditions, the grossly excessive speed, turning the lights off and continuing to drive after the stinger was deployed mean appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”

Mr Lewis Aldous, prosecuting, said police had already made one attempt to stop Freeman as he drove South on the M5 but contact was lost until a fresh pursuit started in hazardous driving conditions.

It lasted eight minutes during which Freeman sideswiped a police car, veered onto the grass verge, and accelerated to 100 mph with no lights.

A stinger punctured all four tyres but he carried on until police made “tactical contact” with his car, boxed it in and brought it to a halt.

A small amount of crack cocaine was found and Freeman told the officers “sorry, I was trying to roll a fag and speak to my missus on the phone”.

Miss Francesca Whebell, defending, said Freeman has made great progress in the 15 months since this incident and is receiving more help with issues of drug abuse and mental health.