A DANGEROUS driver who rolled a car onto its roof after losing control whilst being pursued by police had also been caught in possession of a foot-long knife and four bars of cannabis resin.

Lee Heron — who ignored red lights and give-way junctions — was driving on a wheel rim after one of the tyres on his vehicle burst, causing the crash on Greenock’s Auchmead Road.

But the 20-year-old still tried to evade police by clambering out of his crumpled car and fleeing on foot.

Dad-of-one Heron was told by Sheriff Derek Hamilton that he had committed an ‘appalling catalogue of bad driving’ as the lawman sent him to prison and handed him a five-year road ban.

Greenock Sheriff Court heard how Heron was behind the wheel of a 16-year-old Astra which was in a ‘bad state of repair’ when he sparked the high speed chase after failing to stop for police.

Prosecutor Carol Cameron said: “The accused continued to drive through various roads, increasing his speed up to 70mph in built-up areas.

“On Inverkip Road he crossed onto the opposing carriageway, causing oncoming vehicles to pull over and stop in order to avoid a collision.

“He failed to comply with two red lights, then did a u-turn on the central reservation of the A78 to go back towards Greenock town centre.”

Fiscal depute Ms Cameron added: “At Auchmead Road the accused approached a sports complex, including a creche.

“His nearside front tyre appeared to have lost pressure and he was driving on the wheel rim.

“This caused him to lose full control of the vehicle and it swerved and struck a parked car.

“His vehicle turned over onto its roof before coming to a halt.

“Police, who were there seconds later, saw the accused running from the car and they arrested him a short time later.

“He was assessed by an ambulance crew who found no visible injuries and he was deemed fit for police custody.”

Heron, of Regent Street, Greenock, was also driving without a licence and no insurance when he committed the offences on March 29.

The court heard how he had earlier been arrested for a previous dangerous driving offence in September last year, and for possession of a blade and 50 grams of cannabis resin just six days later.

Police were drawn to the red-coloured Ford Focus he was driving at 1.50am because the car’s rear fog light was illuminated.

Fiscal depute Ms Cameron said: “The accused immediately accelerated away from the police and drove at excessive speed on narrow roads.

“Police caught up again (when the car was stationary) with all its lights off, except the fog light.

“The accused was crouched over within the vehicle, trying to hide himself, still with his seatbelt on and car keys in his hand.”

The court heard that Heron had described his actions in a pre-sentencing background report as ‘ridiculous’.

His lawyer, Gerry Keenan, called for the imposition of the ‘most stringent of non-custodial disposals’, adding: “He has genuine insight into the severity of situation which faces him today.”

But Sheriff Hamilton ruled that there was no alternative to custody.

The sheriff told Heron: “This is an appalling catalogue of bad driving.

“You appear on a summary complaint, which restricts the custodial sentence for dangerous driving.

“You did this not once but twice and you put everyone at risk, including yourself, racing around Greenock and Gourock, failing to adhere to red lights and junctions and inevitably rolling your vehicle.

“No-one was injured but this was only by good fortune.”

As well as the five-year driving ban, Heron was sent to detention for a total of 13 months — six for the knife offence and seven for the dangerous driving.

Sheriff Hamilton said that the blade matter had been ‘glossed over’ due to the severity of the motoring offences, but added: “Carrying a knife in Greenock is just not acceptable.”