A SMIRKING driver who sped towards oncoming traffic while leading police on a high-speed pursuit through Bridgend has narrowly avoided jail.

Officers from the Roads Policing Unit passed a parked VW Golf on Ewenny Road, Bridgend, on the evening of November 9 last year.

The vehicle driven by 19-year-old Thomas Haysham, of Irving Place, Barry, sped off as the police car neared, and failed to stop once its blue lights were activated.

Haysham then picked up speed as he headed towards the A48, hitting 60mph along the residential Park Street and 90mph as he neared the junction for Broadlands.

In a desperate attempt to evade police, he then joined the wrong carriageway of the A48, causing oncoming traffic to switch lanes to avoid a collision.

As officers attempted to use their vehicles to force him to stop before he joined the M4, Haysham crashed his vehicle into a police car before continuing on his reckless journey.

When he finally came to a forced stop on the slip-road to the M4, Haysham and his passengers were caught on bodyworn video laughing and smirking.

The driver and his two passengers were all arrested, and Haysham was subsequently charged with dangerous driving, driving other than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance.

He pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing and was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court, on Tuesday, January 29, to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

He was also handed a two-year driving ban and must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Following sentencing, officer in the case, PC Liam Buttle said: “Thomas Haysham’s actions that night were nothing short of reckless and irresponsible.

“He clearly panicked at the sight of a police car and responded in a manner which put not only himself and his passengers at serious risk, but also other motorists and pedestrians.

“It was extremely fortunate that no-one was injured as a result of his dangerous driving and I hope that the judicial process and resulting sentence has afforded Haysham an opportunity to reflect on his sheer stupidity, and that he no longer views the incident as a laughing matter.”