POLICE officers tasered a dangerous driver who dived out his vehicle after leading them on an “absurd” chase along the A12.

James McCann swerved into laybys and perilously undertook motorists when he realised the police were tailing him on March 17.

The chase saw the 32-year-old hit speeds of up to 90mph on the Colchester-bound A12 as he tried to lose the pursuing officers, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

McCann, who has an “appalling record” of previous driving convictions dating back to 2008, was yesterday sentenced to 16 months imprisonment and banned from the roads.

The court heard police attention was first drawn to the vehicle at 4.15pm when officers realised there was an inconsistency with its number plate.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Jailed - James McCannJailed - James McCann

Oliver Kirk, prosecuting, said the vehicle was driving in a way which only increased their suspicions when it swerved into laybys and feigned leaving the A12, before forcing back in and undertaking cars.

Mr Kirk explained how McCann finally left the road at Kelvedon and continued to drive in a manner which caused other motorists to take evasive action, causing police to employ the use of a stinger.

With the Fiat Scudo van’s tyres now burst, the defendant carried on driving at about 35mph before slowing and diving out of the vehicle, while it continued to move with a female passenger inside.

Officers finally managed to detain McCann, who has 23 convictions for 51 previous offences, after he fled from Swan Street, Kelvedon, by tasering him.

McCann admitted dangerous driving, driving without a licence and without insurance.

William Bonehill, mitigating, told the court how his client has “significant difficulties” with literacy and numeracy, but conceded his driving record is a “horrendous one”.

Judge David Turner QC lambasted McCann for his history, arguing being disqualified from driving is “virtually an annual event”.

He said: “I feel so sorry for his wife and children, his constant absence is a monumental failure to his family. It’s sad he’s depriving his children of so much paternal involvement.

“You drove dangerously and, frankly, absurdly. You undertook, overtook, failed to stop, swerved, sped and evaded other vehicles.”

McCann, of Manford Way, Chigwell, was disqualified from driving for three years and eight months, when he must then take extended lessons.