A LEARNER driver who led police on a 100mph chase through Mid Devon has been banned before he even had a chance to take his test.

Rhys Leach drove so dangerously on country roads and in Exeter that police abandoned the chase but estimated his top speed at 100mph.

He passed a speed camera in a 30mph limit at 71mph and drove across a double roundabout without stopping.

Police started following his on the B3181 near Broadclyst at 7.30pm on March 4 this year and he took off at speed after slowing down for a short time.

He had three friends in the car and a Judge at Exeter Crown Court said he may have been showing off when he accelerated to 80mph in a 30mph zone and then to 100mph in a 40mph limit.

Leach, aged 21, of Whipton Barton Road, Exeter, admitted dangerous driving and driving not in accordance with a licence and was jailed for 30 weeks, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours unpaid community work.

He was disqualified for a year and ordered to take an extended retest by Recorder Miss Emma Zeb.

She told him it was pure luck that nobody had been hurt and said the offence was made worse by the fact that he had three passengers on board.

She said: “The pre-sentence report says that you acted impulsively or were showing off in front of your friends. You described a sense of panic and this seems to have been a continuous attempt to avoid the police.

“You exercised extremely poor judgment during this dangerous driving. There are indications of some remorse and you acknowledge the stupidity of your actions.”

Mr Lewis Aldous, prosecuting, said police followed Leach’s Seat Ibiza because it showed up as untaxed and uninsured and pursued it through Pinhoe into Exeter before losing it. Leach was identified and arrested later.

Mr Moses Tawo, defending, said accepts he acted impulsively and realises he is currently too immature to drive. He has not tried to reclaim his car after it was seized and it is likely to be scrapped.

He said Leach is not working at the moment because of an injured hand and is currently acting as an unofficial carer for his grandfather.