A MOTORIST fleeing from police officers reached speeds of up to 90mph as he drove through towns and villages in north Cumbria and south west Scotland, a court heard.

The driving offences which were committed by 40-year-old John Ewan Cook were deemed by a district judge to be so serious that he ruled it should be dealt with by a circuit judge at Carlisle Crown Court.

At the city's Rickergate Magistrates' Court, Cook, of Pretoria Road, Eastriggs, near Annan, admitted four offences: dangerous driving, failing to stop when required to by a police officer, uninsured driving, and driving with no proper licence.

Amy Labram, prosecuting, said the offences came to light at 12.45am on October 14 as police patrolling the M6 spotted the defendant's northbound VW Tiguan and became suspicious.

They illuminated their car's blue lights and siren to signal they wanted him to pull over. "But the blue VW failed to stop," she said. The defendant left the M6 at Junction 44, north of Carlisle, and was pursued across the border.

"He was driving dangerously, and at excessive speeds," said Miss Labram.

"He sped through various towns and villages, reaching 90mph in a 30mph speed limit area."

When he got to Eastriggs, where he lives, the defendant's speed was clocked at 80mph. The speed limit there is also 30mph, said Miss Labram.

She said: "He continued to drive, despite his nearside tyre being punctured after it hit the kerb. He was struggling to control the car. He finally came to a stop on the driveway of his own house in Eastriggs."

The prosecutor told District Judge Gerald Chalk the offence - characterised by prolonged bad driving - was in the most serious category. She said: "There was a clear and deliberate disregard for the safety of other; and there were speeds of 70mph, 80mph, and 90mph in areas with a speed limit of 30mph.

She said Cook should be sentenced by a crown court judge. District Judge Chalk said: "I agree: my powers [of sentence] are inadequate." Cook will be sentenced on December 6.