A DANGER teenage driver who ignored red traffic lights and tore through residential streets at more than double the speed limit has been spared jail.

Jamie Coyle, 18, sparked a police pursuit through Greenock before dawn and forced other motorists to take evasive action to avoid crashing with the Ford Transit connect minivan he was driving.

Coyle, of Pladda Avenue, Port Glasgow, was charged with stealing the silver-coloured vehicle from the town's Broadfield Avenue — and possession of the class A drug ecstasy — but his not guilty plea to these allegations were accepted by prosecutors.

The licence-less teen repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the road and failed to stop for police during the chase which took in Inverkip Road, Dunlop Street, Drumfrochar Road, Ingleston Street, Belville Street, Carwood Street and Sinclair Street.

Fiscal depute John Penman told the sheriff court: "According to the police, speeds in excess of 60mph were reached.

"The accused stopped near the Hillend Resource Centre and he exited the vehicle."

Coyle committed the offences in the early hours of September 21 last year.

He has been given a year to complete a 60-hour community payback unpaid work order — which equates to five hours per month.

His lawyer, David Tod, said: "Mr Coyle is pro-social and has never been in trouble before.

"He accepts what he did was wrong and that he has to be punished.

"He hasn't come to the attention of the police again since the commission of this offence."

Sheriff Michael Higgins told Coyle: "I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf and taken into consideration the timing of your plea.

"I proposed to impose a community payback order as an alternative to custody."

Coyle has also been banned from driving for 18 months.