A DANGEROUS getaway driver may never drive again after he was bitten by a police dog following a high speed chase.

John Shorthouse, who appeared in court on crutches because of the injury, was bitten on the leg after he was boxed in by police dog handlers following a 30km chase through Longbridge in November.

The 21-year-old, of Greenford Road in Birmingham, admitted stealing two cars, aggravating vehicle taking, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday.

Shorthouse already had a dangerous driving conviction on his record from February last year at the time of the offences.

He stole the Audi, worth £38,000, from Warwick Parkway railway station between November 24 and November 26. He then drove the stolen Audi to steal a Ford Focus RS from a garage near Bromsgrove on November 29.

The owner had bought the Focus, worth £17,500, from a garage at Wychbold on the A38 before it was stolen from a garage in Upton Warren, where it was parked overnight.

Timothy Sapwell, prosecuting, said CCTV showed the Audi, driven by Shorthouse, pull up at the garage, and three people get out.

They stole the Focus which was driven away ‘in convoy’ with the Audi. The Focus failed to stop when pursued by police in Groveley Lane, Longbridge.

Two people left the Focus and climbed into the Audi, driven by the defendant.

Mr Sapwell described Shorthouse ramming a police vehicle. An officer suffered back pain as a result and it caused £1,500 of damage to the police car.

The chase lasted 37 minutes and covered a distance of 30km. Shorthouse drove at speeds of up to 100mph in 30mph roads.

“He failed to stop at roundabouts, t-junctions and traffic lights showing red, forcing other vehicles to take evasive action to avoid collisions” said Mr Sapwell.

Towards the end of the chase all the car’s tyres were punctured, either by stingers deployed by police or by the manner of the driving itself.

Mr Sapwell added: “The car was boxed in by a police dog handler vehicle and a dog was set on the defendant to catch him. He received a bite from the dog.”

James Bryce, defending, said: “He has always had an abiding interest in cars and speed.

“He started mixing with the wrong people and has become embroiled in this offence.”

After the dog bite Mr Bryce said the defendant was on the operating table for two to three hours and had suffered significant ligament damage.

He said: “It could be that is a life-long injury. He may not be able to drive again.”

Judge Jim Tindal jailed Shorthouse for 18 months and banned him from driving for three years. He must also complete an extended driving retest.