'A menace on our roads': Van thief drove wrong way down M62 during police chase
A vehicle thief put hundreds of lives in danger when he drove the wrong way on the M62 during a police chase in a stolen van.
The West Yorkshire Police helicopter filmed the incident as Dominic McPhillips drove for a mile in heavy traffic before crashing on the hard shoulder.
McPhillips was jailed for 32 months over the incident on October 14 this year.
Sentencing him, Judge Tom Bayliss, QC, said: "You are a menace on our roads.
"You put scores, perhaps hundreds of motorists at risk. You put the police at risk.
"You did so on the M62, one of the busiest roads in the county."
Leeds Crown Court heard police spotted McPhillips driving a Ford Transit in Leeds city centre at 2.30pm on the day of the incident.
The vehicle had been stolen four days earlier and the front and back registration plates did not match.
Officers followed the vehicle out of the city centre to a car park on Meadow Lane where a man put a set of ladders into the back.
McPhillips then drove off alone onto the M62.
He failed to stop when officers signalled for him to pull over.
Jessica Randell, prosecuting, said McPhillips reached speeds of up to 90mph and "cut up" other road users.
He drove onto the hard shoulder and collided with the front of a HGV but managed to keep control of the vehicle.
The defendant then left the motorway at junction 30, near to Rothwell.
He drove around the roundabout three times then rejoined the motorway in the wrong carriageway.
Patrol officers had to abandon the pursuit because of the danger it posed to other motorists.
The police helicopter filmed the van as it was driven for around a mile before crashing.
McPhillips ran off into woodland but was caught by police shortly afterwards.
The 34-year-old was searched and found in possession of the keys to two other vehicles.
McPhillips was also carrying a "highly sophisticated" key used to gain access to vehicles which is often used by professional locksmiths.
McPhillips, Cartmell Drive, Halton Moor, Leeds, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, taking a vehicle without consent, driving while disqualified, going equipped for theft and breach of a suspended sentence.
He has 33 convictions, mainly for car crime offences.
Stephen Welford, mitigating, said McPhillips pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage.