A DANGEROUS Greenock thug rammed a car into a police officer throwing him several feet into the air following a high speed chase through the town.

Craig Osborne 'narrowly missed crushing' the constable between his Vauxhall Corsa and the officer's squad car in the terrifying flashpoint.

It came after a pursuit through a dozen streets with speeds reaching more than 75mph in 30mph zones as Osborne, 20, ran red lights and risked head-on crashes with members of the public.

He smashed the black Corsa into two police vehicles and left officers with whiplash and shooting pain injuries which resulted in one PC being unfit for work.

Osborne — who sped off before ditching his car — appeared set to get away with the offences after officers were told by bosses to stand down in the wake of one of them being hit.

But he was arrested on an unrelated matter a few hours later whilst drunk - and began boasting about 'smashing up' the police cars — then winked and laughed.

A glove found later in Osborne's abandoned Corsa was forensically linked to him.

The court heard how the chase — through Cornhaddock Street, Drumfrochar Road, Baker's Brae, Ingliston Street, Belville Street, Ratho Street, East Hamilton Street, Sinclair Street, Gilmour Street, Bridgend Road, Auchmountain Road and Cardross Crescent — began at 7.38pm on November 28 last year.

Officers spotted Osborne's car had been overtaking several vehicles at speed and they flashed their blue lights and sounded their klaxons for him to stop.

Prosecutor John Penman said: "The Corsa, however, failed to stop travelling at speed in excess of 70mph in a 30mph zone, failing to stop at red traffic lights.

"Various vehicles had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

"An abrupt right turn at the junction between East Hamilton Street and Sinclair Street caused numerous vehicles to take evasive action to avoid a head-on collision with the Corsa.

"After passing Knocknairshill Cemetery, the Corsa reached speeds in excess of 75mph."

The court heard how Osborne stopped his car near the cemetery and officers unclipped their seatbelts in expectation of him giving himself up.

But he reversed his car 'at speed' into the front end of the police car, causing the two officers inside to be thrown backwards and their heads to strike their vehicle's roof.

Osborne then sped off and a second police car took the lead in the chase.

He stopped again on Auchmountain Road and both police vehicles were positioned to try to box him in.

Osborne drove forward and smashed into the already damaged police car, then reversed into the other one.

Moments later he drove the Corsa 'directly towards' one officer 'at speed', the court was told.

Fiscal depute Mr Penman said: "The Corsa's front bumper struck the police witness to his lower body and resulted in him being thrown approximately five feet into the air.

"The impact of the Corsa narrowly missed crushing the police witness between the car itself and his own marked police vehicle.

"The Corsa then made off at high speed again.

"Officers were instructed to stand down from the pursuit."

Osborne was arrested at 2am the following morning near Oronsay Avenue, Port Glasgow and drunkenly blurted out: "Your motors got smashed earlier."

When asked what he was referring to, he said: "Aye, your motors got smashed up that back road, reversed in tae and all sorts."

Fiscal depute Mr Penman said: "This was information that would have been privy only to the police witnesses involved in the pursuit and the occupant of the Corsa."

The court heard that Osborne went on to brag to the police: "I was driving that motor, ha ha."

He then spat at one officer and tried to headbutt another.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said: "It is perhaps good fortune that no-one was injured seriously, or fatally."

Mr Gallagher added: "He has later abandoned the Corsa and drank. He realises his behaviour was totally unacceptable."

Sheriff David Hall imposed a 24-month sentence of detention in a young offenders institution on Osborne.

The sheriff told him: "For you to drive at police will not be tolerated by the court.

"Taking account of the serious nature of the charges, and your record, there is no alternative to a custodial sentence in this matter."

Osborne has also been banned from the roads for three years and must re-sit the extended driving test.