A DRIVER who rammed a police van when he started chasing it after earlier driving dangerously around a McDonald’s car park has been jailed.

Liam Collins, 33, caused mayhem in Pontypool and Cwmbran and had smoke coming from the tyres of his Audi A3 at one stage.

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The defendant also sped towards a police car whose driver had to take last-second action to avoid a head-on collision.

Prosecutor Peter Donnison said Collins has 32 previous convictions for 103 offences and was jailed for seven years in 2016 for arson.

The defendant was first spotted driving dangerously at around 10.30pm on September 20, 2019 on the A4043 in Pontypool.

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Mr Donnison told Cardiff Crown Court: “He was seen accelerating with smoke coming from his tyres.”

The defendant was later seen driving dangerously at the McDonald’s car park in Pontypool.

In the early hours of the morning the next day at 4.30am, Collins targeted a police van on Cwmbran Drive which was answering an emergency call.

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The prosecutor said: “He followed the vehicle and started to ram it.

“The defendant was flashing the police van and his headlights were on full beam.

“He hit the offside of the vehicle and the officers were jolted in the van.”

When officers later assessed the damage they found scratches on the bumper, a smashed light and its sensors no longer worked.

Collins, whose address was given as Parc Prison, Bridgend pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

He also had two previous convictions for dangerous driving.

Stephen Thomas, mitigating, said on behalf of his client: “The defendant does not prevaricate and takes full responsibility for his actions.”

Judge David Wynn Morgan jailed Collins for 12 months, banned him from driving for four years and ordered him to pay a £149 victim surcharge.

The defendant asked the judge if this sentence would have to served on top of his current prison term for breaching the terms of his licence

When he was told it would be, he called it a “joke”.

After Collins left the room in prison where his video conference call was being held, Judge Wynn Morgan turned to his barrister and said: “Another satisfied client Mr Thomas.”