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Teenager who drove at 120mph into oncoming traffic is locked up after being found in bushes by police dog
12 Jul | 12:02

A teenager who drove at 120mph into oncoming traffic on a busy motorway before being found hiding in bushes by a police dog is today behind bars.

Last month Liam Facey was spotted by response officers in South Shields driving a BMW but he refused to stop when they asked him to pull over.

Instead the 19-year-old led officers on a high speed pursuit during which he hit speeds of more than 100mph, drove through red lights and on the wrong side of the road.

A National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter was dispatched to assist 24/7 officers on the ground and the crew were able to direct them to the suspect.

However, officers were forced to abandon the pursuit when Facey turned onto the wrong side of the road on the A19 and nearly collided head-on with a police car.

The police helicopter continued to follow the silver BMW 318ti until he turned off the motorway and abandoned the vehicle on the roadside.

He fled into woodland and NPAS were able to direct police search teams to the area where Facey had fled.

PC Helen Kane and her police dog Ziva were dispatched in the area, again guided by the helicopter crew, and within minutes the six-year-old Belgian Herder had found the suspect hiding in the woods.

He was arrested and later charged with dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to stop for police following the incident on June 12.

Facey, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to all charges last month and at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday he was sent to a youth offender’s institute for 14 months.

Following his conviction, police released footage from the police helicopter and PC Kane’s body worn video that showed the moment he was found by Ziva.

Chief Inspector Dave Guthrie, of Northumbria Police's Motor Patrols Department, said the incident demonstrated the fantastic teamwork between police teams.

He said: "This pursuit started in the early hours of the morning after great work by local officers in South Shields who saw him driving in a suspicious manner.

“They carried out checks and found he was uninsured and were determined to not let him evade justice. It was pitch black and pouring down with rain, so the conditions were very difficult.

"The driver knew that he had been caught inside an uninsured car and was prepared to do anything necessary to avoid being arrested by police.

"It is through sheer luck that he was not involved in a serious accident and the manner of his driving put the lives of other innocent road users at risk.

"In fact, his driving was that dangerous that our officers were left with no choice but to abandon the pursuit to try and reduce the risk to other cars.

"It was during this time that Liam Facey took the opportunity to abandon the vehicle so that he could take cover in woodlands just off the A19.

"What he didn't consider was just how good our police dogs can be and PD Ziva was quickly able to catch his scent and find him hiding in some bushes.

"Thanks to the teamwork of the Dog Section, the response officers from South Tyneside and the police helicopter we have been able to get the suspect into custody.

“The response teams who initiated the pursuit have then worked tirelessly to gather the evidence that ultimately secured an early guilty plea and put this man behind bars.”

PCs Mark Wainwright, David Hutchinson and Leon Edusei had carried out the initial pursuit before they were forced to pull off due to Facey’s dangerous driving.

The NPAS helicopter was deployed from Newcastle, one of 14 NPAS bases supporting police forces across England and Wales to help with the search before PC Kane and Ziva found Facey.

Ian Vause, Assistant Operations Director for NPAS in the North East, said: “Vital information can be passed to ground units by an NPAS helicopter crew overhead, allowing for effective tactics to be used.

“I’m pleased our crew were able to assist Northumbria Police in bringing this dangerous driver to justice."

WATCH the moment police dog finds dangerous driver hiding in the bushes
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