A RHYMNEY man who led police on a high-speed pursuit through Caerphilly while under the influence of cannabis has been jailed.

Jack Morgan, 23, of Heol-y-Twyn, had “panicked” when he was spotted by police driving an uninsured car and reached speeds of more than 80mph.

“This was a lunatic piece of driving,” said Judge Stephen Hopkins QC, who sentenced Morgan to 12 months in prison last Thursday.

Morgan had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, possession of cannabis, driving with cannabis in his system above the prescribed limit, failure to stop and driving without insurance.

Newport Crown Court heard that officers in New Tredegar ran an insurance check on the Audi A4 Morgan, accompanied by a passenger, had been driving as he passed them on the A469.

Prosecutor Jason Howells said: “They turned around to follow and had to accelerate and gain speed to catch up with the defendant.”

Police dashcam footage showed officers reaching speeds of up to 65mph along Duffryn Terrace, a 30mph zone, to keep up.

Morgan, who found himself stuck behind a white van, then made a sharp turn to escape from the pursuing officers.

He reached speeds of around 84mph while leading police through Pontlottyn, narrowly missing an oncoming ambulance.

Mr Howells said: “He was driving in built-up areas with parked cars on a main road with cars coming in the other direction.

“There was a deliberate disregard for the safety of others. His actions were made more serious by the fact that he had drugs in his system and a passenger in the car.”

The car then hit a Stinger device deployed by other officers outside the village, destroying three tires before Morgan and his passenger tried to escape on foot.

The court heard that when Morgan was arrested had had “glazed eyes” and carried a “strong cannabis aroma”.

A test found that Morgan was 2.6 µg (micrograms) above the 2μg legal driving limit.

Nick Gedge, defending, said: “What happened that day was completely out of character. He was having relationship issues and used his friend’s car to go for a drive to get away from these issues.

“He was not insured on this vehicle and panicked when he realised that he had been seen by police.”

Mr Gedge added: “He acknowledges the wrongs he did that day and is embarrassed and ashamed by his actions.”

Judge Hopkins dismissed Mr Gedge’s request for Morgan’s sentence to be suspended and told the court that he had watched the dashcam footage with “horror and astonishment”.

He said: “You had vehicles coming towards you as you were driving like an idiot, they were flashing their lights at you.

“It seems to be more luck than your own judgement that nobody had a collision with you during this lunatic piece of driving.”

Morgan was also disqualified from driving for two-and-a-half years once he has served half of his 12-month sentence.