A DANGEROUS driver has been spared prison because of a life-changing injury.

Jack Wood was banned from driving after leading police on a high-speed chase from the A23 Brighton, through Burgess Hill and Cuckfield, eventually being stopped in Balcombe. The 20-year-old went the wrong way round roundabouts in a stolen car before police used spikes and boxed him in.

He was given a suspended prison sentence at Hove Crown Court in May last year. But in August, he was caught riding a stolen moped.

He was involved in a crash that left him needing his leg to be amputated.

He appeared at Brighton Crown Court in a wheelchair and it was revealed he was struggling with the treatment for his injuries.

Judge Ann Arnold heard there was no suggestion he was riding dangerously or was at fault for the crash but he was riding while banned, which put him in breach of the suspended sentence.

Dale Sullivan, prosecuting, said the crash happened in Orpington and a passenger on the moped fled. Wood was abusive to police while he was treated by paramedics.

Yogain Chandarana, defending, said Wood was no longer able to work as a builder. He said: “The impact on him and his family has been profound. It has caused him to have mental health difficulties, in the depths of despair. He used to be a happy go lucky young man, but now he doesn’t like to leave his room.”

Wood, of Framlingham Crescent, Mottingham, London, wept as Judge Arnold granted him a conditional discharge. She said he would have gone to jail, but his rehabilitation needs could not be met by the prison system. she said: “The injury you have suffered is enormous punishment already.”