A DRINK driver who crashed his car into a lamppost as he attempted to evade police has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Ali Nasser raced at speeds of up to 80mph during a police pursuit on residential roads which ended when he collided with a lamppost after losing control of his car on the approach to Middlesbrough’s Newport Bridge.

The 22-year-old, who fled to the UK from war-torn Somalia after his parents were killed, was said to have become depressed after being relocated from London to Teesside while the authorities decided on his right to remain in the country.

Nasser was described by Paul Lee, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, as driving erratically, “constantly braking, accelerating and weaving about”.

Nasser, who has now moved from Middlesbrough to Forest Hill, London, admitted dangerous driving and driving without a licence and insurance in the early hours of May 3 this year.

His barrister Graham Brown said Nasser had been saddened by his situation and said a friend had misguidedly introduced him to alcohol and also allowed him to use his vehicle.

He said: “This was a one-off offence by a person who has the capacity to be a lawful citizen.”

Judge John Walford accused him of “feckless” behaviour after hearing he had got a woman pregnant and said a pre-sentence report on him had considerably underplayed the seriousness of his offending.

Judge Walford told Nasser: “Those who seek asylum in this country owe an enormous debt of gratitude and they should reflect that in their behaviour and abide by [its] laws.”

He gave him a ten month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and also made him subject to a three month night-time curfew. He will also be disqualified from obtaining or holding a driving licence for 12 months.