At one stage a wrap of cocaine was thrown from the window of the Astra car as the 29-year-old, who had three passengers with him, tried to get away, St Albans crown court heard today/Friday.

Prosecutor Simon Ash said that at twenty past one in the morning of 3 November police officers in a marked car saw the vehicle being driven slowly and erratically in Cottonmill Lane, St Albans.

“On two occasions it veered to the offside kerb. A PNC (police national computer) check was carried out and it was found not to be insured,” said Mr Ash.

The driver stopped the car, but when an officer got out to speak to him, he drove off at speed, reaching 50 miles per hour in a 30 mile zone. It went the wrong way around a roundabout and over speed humps at speed, twice going through red lights. In London Road, he was driving at 80mph – twice the limit.

He tried to swerve around a police van that was blocking the road, but lost control and crashed into another police car.

The police could smell alcohol and he failed a roadside breath test. He was taken to Hatfield police station where he gave a breath reading of 57 – the legal limit being 35.

During the chase a wrap of cocaine was thrown from the car window. One of the women passengers told the police that half a gram of the drug found in her possession had been given to her by the driver.

His home in St Albans was searched and 4 wraps of cocaine were discovered along with £220 cash.

The defendant, who now lives in Cornwall, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty earlier to supplying half a gram of cocaine, possessing five wraps cocaine, dangerous driving, driving above the alcohol limit and having no insurance. He had a previous drink drive conviction from March 2007.

Andrew Kerry, defending, said that since his arrest his client could not have done more to put things in order and handed the judge references, including a letter from the defendant’s mother.

He said: “He has moved away to Cornwall and has sought private drug counselling. He has cleared himself of drugs. He acknowledges he needs help with alcohol.”

He said the defendant was on Job Seekers’ Allowance, but had an interview with the Department of Work and Pensions and was optimistic about getting work.

Refering to the supplying charge, he said he had supplied a small amount of cocaine to a woman work colleague who was in the car that night, but no money had changed hands.

Recorder Thomas Corrie told him: “It was a prolonged and alarming chase and a mercy no-one was injured. You were drunk and should not have been behind the wheel.”

But he said he was able to pass a suspended sentence because of the efforts the man had made to rid himself of drugs.

The judge passed a total sentence of 12 months’ jail suspended for 18 months. He banned him from driving for 3 years and ordered him to carry out an extended test before he regains his licence. He will be supervised by probation officers for 12 months and will attend an alcohol treatment programme. He must also abide by a 3-month curfew between 7pm and 7am.