A YOUNG father with a history of unsafe driving offences has been jailed after mounting the pavement to avoid police and putting lives at risk.

Michael Allen, of Morrison Close, Tilehurst, was convicted by a unanimous jury at Reading Crown Court on February 14 and was sentenced to 14 months in prison on the same day.

The 28-year-old was caught driving without insurance on March 30, 2017, which resulted in him being pursued by police on Grovelands Road.

In attempting to avoid arrest, he mounted the pavement and was said to be travelling at around 30mph.

He was convicted of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified and he will serve half of his sentence in the community.

Judge Paul Dugdale, sentencing, said: “Everybody needs to understand that dangerous driving is not a minor offence. It accounts for more deaths in this country than almost anything else.

“You have three children. If someone had driven past the front of your children’s house in the way you did and one of your children had stepped out and been hit and killed you would have asked me for justice.

“The fact that nobody was injured is irrelevant. The risks to members of the public within the community and particularly children are too great. With you, it is particularly relevant, because it is not the first time you have done it.”

Allen previously served six months in prison for a similar offence, which saw him crash into a tree.

The latest incident happened three months before the end of a 30-month driving ban and the court handed out a fresh ban, which is set to last 43 months.

Edward Culver, mitigating, told the judge that Allen had been the victim of an assault in 2007, which had left him with ongoing health issues.

He asked for the court to consider an alternative to prison, suggesting the short distance travelled and lack of damage put the incident at the lower end of the scale of dangerous driving offences.

However, judge Dugdale was not convinced and said immediate custody was the only correct course of action.

He added: “The officer’s response sets out the risk you took in doing that. The officer was terrified that somebody would come out of the house and they would be run over by your car, going at 30mph on the pavement. You could have killed a child.

“I have sat in this court far too often with a public gallery full of family of people who have been hurt by drivers like you driving dangerously. I have had to hear the victims of children killed by drivers trying to avoid the police.

“Within the space of two and a half years you are doing it again. It has to be a custodial sentence. I know that will hurt those who love you, but it has to be that way.”