POLICE abandoned the pursuit of two men driving dangerously on quad bikes due to safety reasons, a court heard.

Andrew Wright and Timothy Scott were spotted by two officers in an unmarked police vehicle, driving towards them on the agricultural-type bikes, on the A692, at Dipton, near Stanley, on March 8.

Durham Crown Court heard the pair appeared to be driving on and off road, having emerged from allotments.

Angus Taylor, prosecuting, said as they were unaware the car contained police personnel, the quad bikers drove past their vehicle enabling them to get a good view.

Descriptions were passed on via police radio and a marked vehicle took up the pursuit, as the pair were not only travelling at speed, but mounting pavements where pedestrians may have been walking, at 2.30pm.

Mr Taylor said it was not considered safe to continue to try to catch up with them, due to the manner of driving on the undulating roads, and the fact the quad bikes could easily be diverted off-road.

Scott was arrested later that day, but it was a further five days before Wright was detained and neither gave any responses to police.

But, when the case came to court for a plea hearing, Scott, 22, of Friarside Gardens, Burnopfield, near Stanley, admitted dangerous driving and no insurance.

Wright, 25, of Colts Park, Hamsterley Colliery, near Consett, denied both charges, plus driving other than in accordance with the licence, claiming it was not him seen by the officers, but he was found guilty on unanimous jury verdicts.

The court heard that Wright has been re-called to prison to serve part of the un-served section of a five-year sentence for possessing a firearm with intent to cause a fear of violence.

David Callan, in mitigation for Wright, said despite the manner of driving, there were no injuries, nor was any damage caused.

Vic Laffey, for Scott, said his was a different situation, as he works full time and has no previous convictions.

Jailing Wright for 12 months, Recorder Peter Makepeace said: “I know this must have seemed a great hoot at the time, but this was an appalling piece of driving, and someone could easily have been seriously hurt or worse.”

Wright was also banned from driving for three years.

Scott given a six-month sentence suspended for a year, during which he must perform 200 hours unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £200 costs and £115 statutory surcharge, and was banned from driving for a year.