A BURGLAR accused of dressing up as a policeman to trick elderly residents out of their savings led officers on a high-speed chase through Sheffield, a court heard.
Alexander Wright, aged 31, drove at speeds of up to 70mph, went thorough red lights, tried to ram a police car, and drove the wrong way around roundabouts, jurors were told.
Ian West, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said Wright was fleeing a distraction burglary in Clifton Crescent, Handsworth, last July when the pursuit began.
The court was played a video of the chase and heard evidence from PC Gary Garner, tactical adviser at South Yorkshire Police’s roads policing group.
Asked to describe Wright’s driving, he said: “The driving was dangerous from start to finish, taking into account the speeds, the type of vehicle, the time of day and the geography of the roads.
“It’s my belief it’s only a balance of luck and very sharp braking and avoiding action by others which avoided the van causing at least damage and, at the most, serious injury or death.”
PC Jonathan Smith and PC Sean Foley were sent to Handsworth following reports a distraction burglar dressed as a police officer was operating in the area.
PC Smith said: “There was a male standing on the road. He was wearing blue trousers and a blue jumper - it appeared to give the impression he was in some form of uniform.”
PC Smith said the man got into a white van and stuck two fingers up as he drove past the officers.
They chased him until traffic officers took over along Tinsley viaduct.
Wright, who denies seven burglaries and dangerous driving, was caught by firearms officers on Meadowbank Road, Kimberworth, when he abandoned the van and tried to flee.
The trial continues.