A DRIVER who had drunk “four or five pints” led three police cars on a high speed chase for almost an hour.

Mark Glenister raced through a red light into London Road, Brighton, in front of a police car which then set off in pursuit.

The 33-year-old tree surgeon stopped at the Preston Circus junction and a police officer from the chasing car approached his vehicle and tried to get him to open the door but received no response.

So a second officer got out of the police car and began to move towards the vehicle.

Beverley Cripps, prosecuting told Brighton Crown Court: “Seeing this, he drove off at speed. It was a 30mph zone but at one point officers had to drive at 90mph in Stanford Avenue to keep up with him.”

Glenister, of Sawyers Road, Burgess Hill, sped around the streets of Brighton, accelerating around the Fiveways area and Ditchling Road.

Two more police cars joined the chase, which happened on April 25, as he headed out of the city, but he continued for more than 50 minutes and 26 miles before police executed a “tactical stop” near East Grinstead.

Ms Cripps said: “Mr Glenister then again refused to leave the car and had to be forcibly removed.

“His behaviour was bizarre and both male and female officers felt he was under the influence of more than alcohol.”

One officer attempted to do a roadside test but was not able to.

Judge Anne Arnold said that Glenister had later admitted to having consumed “four or five pints of alcohol”.

Glenister appeared in court on Thursday charged with dangerous driving and failure to provide a specimen.

Keith Goodhand, defending, said: “This was an appalling piece of driving.

“I say this on behalf of my client and he agrees with that.”

He added that the “hallmark of this, and not an excuse, was crass stupidity”.

Glenister pleaded guilty to both charges.

He provided a handwritten letter of apology, which was passed to the judge.

Mr Goodhand described the incident as “totally out of character” for Glenister and said: “There is an acknowledgement of his wrongdoing and how matters could have resulted.”

As explanation for his behaviour, Mr Goodhand also added that in Glenister’s “younger years” he had “quite an unpleasant experience with police in which he lost a tooth”.

Judge Arnold said: “Travelling at that speed would have had catastrophic consequences if you had come into contact with any other drivers.

“When you were stopped at a red light you were asked to get out by officers but refused. I have seen your reasons and don’t deem them credible.”

Glenister was given a 48-week prison sentence suspended for two years.

He was ordered to do 90 hours’ unpaid work and 20 rehab requirement days.

He was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay a £1,200 surcharge.