AN habitual dangerous driver caught as a police helicopter tracked him just minutes into New Year’s Day speeding at 100mph in a 30mph zone through a residential area was slammed by a judge who said he will “kill somebody” one day.

Craig Walker also hit a Gwent Police van when he escaped from officers who came to arrest him after he used false number plates to drive off without paying for fuel at a Newport garage.

Prosecutor Paul Hewitt told Cardiff Crown Court that a stinger device was used to stop the 31-year-old in a Volkswagen Golf in Pengam after police stood down an initial chase because they deemed it "too dangerous".

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South Wales Argus: CHASE: Images of the damaged car and pursuit were released by Gwent Police on TwitterCHASE: Images of the damaged car and pursuit were released by Gwent Police on Twitter

Walker kept driving for another four miles on the car’s shredded tyres with sparks and debris flying before he was eventually arrested in New Tredegar as officers on the ground were directed to him by the helicopter.

The court was told he has seven previous convictions for dangerous driving and more than 100 offences to his name, including “dozens” for driving whilst disqualified.

Mr Hewitt said the pursuit started when Walker, formerly of Abertillery, was spotted in Highmead, Pontllanfraith, after an anonymous tip-off that he was using false plates alerted them to him.

South Wales Argus: PURSUIT: A view from the police helicopter on the night of the chasePURSUIT: A view from the police helicopter on the night of the chase

He said the defendant was linked to driving off without paying for nearly £69 of fuel in the Stow Hill area of Newport on New Year’s Eve. Walker pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, making off without payment, failing to stop and perverting the course of justice in using false plates.

Lucy Crowther, mitigating, said: “The defendant has become virtually institutionalised by the amount of time he has spent in custody over the years.

"It may sound trite, but he is unable to stop driving.”

She said Walker was "addicted" to getting behind the wheel and was unable to prevent himself doing so despite being constantly banned.

The Recorder of Cardiff, Judge Eleri Rees told Walker: “You have not a care for anyone else. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“It may give you a thrill, but you will face a judge for killing somebody one day.

"You have an appalling record with 34 previous convictions for 110 offences."

The defendant, now of Jones Street, Phillipstown, New Tredegar, was jailed for a total of 20 months and disqualified from driving.