A man drove "like an idiot" to try to shake off an experienced police driver in a high-speed chase through residential streets of north Watford, a judge said on Tuesday.
Thomas Parry, 22, was spotted behind the wheel of a white Corsa van in Bushey Mill Lane, Watford, just before three in the afternoon.
Prosecutor Colin Banham told St Albans Crown Court that the officer, who was in an unmarked car, was concerned about his driving and asked colleagues to check the van's details on the Police National Computer.
The officer put on his siren and flashing blue lights and followed the van on to Radlett Road and then into Balmoral Road.
Mr Banham went on: "It did not stop and continued into Sandringham Road, passing parked vehicles. The weather was damp, but the traffic was light.
"It cut the corner into Windsor Road and was travelling at 45 miles per hour, with the limit being 30. He nearly lost control and then went right into Sandown Road turning left again into Balmoral Road.
"The van went left into Southfield Avenue at a speed of 50 to 55 in a 30 mile zone. He went straight across a busy junction at the junctions of Knutford and Westfield Avenues, driving half onto a pavement to avoid a van coming in the opposite direction."
It eventually stopped in Devon Road. Parry got out and ran down the side of a house and into a garden. He jumped over a fence, but was soon arrested.
Parry, of Aragon Close, Hemel Hempsted, pleaded guilty to driving dangerously on October 22 last year. He denied a charge of having no insurance, which will be dealt with at the magistrates court.
He had previous convictions for violence and drug offences.
Defence barrister Simon Shannon handed the judge a letter from Parry and from his girlfriend. He said it was not the worst driving case of its kind.
Judge John Plumstead said: "He was driving like an idiot in an attempt to shake off an experienced police officer."
He passed a four month jail sentence suspended for 18 months, saying it was fortunate nobody was hurt and no property was damaged. Parry must also complete 100 hours' unpaid work.
Parry was banned from driving for 12 months and must take an extended re-test before he regains his licence.
The judge told him: "Don't come back." Refering to the letter from Ms Ward, he said: "You have a thoughtful, supportive and decent girlfriend."
Parry, who had brought a bag with his belongings to court as he had been told he faced a jail sentence, left the dock and said: "Thank you" to the judge.