A CRIMINAL who evaded police by driving a 4X4 off-road over the South Downs is now behind bars.

Darryl Matthew Dempsey has been given a 44-month prison sentence for a string of offences including eight burglaries other than dwellings, six counts of fraud, handling stolen goods, driving while disqualified, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police.

The unemployed 21-year-old managed to escape after ditching his 4X4 in Friston Forest but was eventually arrested.

Dempsey appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (September 20) and pleaded guilty to all charges against him.

After his arrest on Monday, August 15, Dempsey of Beare Green, Dorking, Surrey, was remanded in custody prior to his sentencing.

Inspector Tony Wakefield, of the Wealden Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "We're delighted with this result.

"Three years and eight months may seem slightly lenient to some people, considering the number of charges against Dempsey. But the judge made it clear in his summing up that if Dempsey appears before the court again he could expect a custodial sentence running into double figures. So, a pretty severe warning."