Teenage learner driver led cops on high speed car chase in cannabis filled Audi

A teenage learner driver led police on a high speed chase so dangerous that force management told officers to stop pursuing for their own safety.

Provisional licence holder Liam Thornber, 18, almost crashed several times as he lost control and mounted the verge in the cannabis-filled Audi A3.

Thornber told Perth Sheriff Court he had acted like an “idiot” and he was banned from driving for 12 months and until he re-sits the extended test. He was also fined £700.

Fiscal depute Sean Maher told the court officers in a marked police car saw Thornber drive past and indicate to turn right before changing his mind.

“Upon seeing the police vehicle the signal was cancelled and he turned left and made off at speed. Officers activated lights and sirens and pursued the car.

“He made a sharp and sudden left turn,” Mr Maher said.

“The officers felt they were close enough to reasonably assume the driver was aware of their presence but he failed to stop.

“He was seen to be driving significantly in excess of the speed limits and in such a manner that in negotiating a number of corners he partially left the carriageway and mounted the verge.

“He also negotiated a number of blind corners and officers formed the view that his speed was such that he would not be able to stop in the event of oncoming vehicles.

“Authority was given to continue the pursuit because the level of driver training was sufficient. Shortly thereafter this approval was rescinded and the officers deactivated their lights and sirens.”

The court was told that Thornber slowed down and pulled in moments later and officers discovered a strong smell of cannabis coming from the Audi.

Thornber, Glebe Road, Comrie, admitted driving dangerously and at excessive speed on the A822 Muthill to Crieff road and a nearby unclassified road on 23 July.

He admitted repeatedly losing control and mounting verges while trying to evade police.

The teenager, who had a passenger in the car, also admitted not having insurance, not displaying L plates, failing to stop for police, and possessing cannabis.

He also admitted that less than a month later – on 16 August – he was caught driving again when he had no insurance and was only a provisional licence holder.

On that occasion he was seen climbing out of a badly damaged vehicle which was blocking the same road as he had been seen on previously.

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Ground worker Thornber, representing himself in court, said: “I was just being an idiot and don’t know what I was doing. I’ve turned myself around.”

Sheriff Neil Bowie said: “The police pursued you and tried to stop you. The nature of your driving potentially put other road users at risk.”

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