A DRIVER who turned the lights of a stolen car off during a terrifying high speed police chase has been jailed for eight months.

"You went so quickly and drove so dangerously that air support was required," Judge Barry Berlin told 30-year-old Christopher Edwards.

"Anybody racing around in such a way that police cars have to be deployed to stop them causing mayhem has to know they can expect a custodial sentence."

Patrolling police officers saw Edwards speeding in Stourbridge Road and he sped away once he realised he had been spotted, said Howard Searle, prosecuting.

He told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Edwards "shot off in a plume of smoke" as he accelerated away, breaking the 40mph speed limit.

Mr Searle said he then switched off his lights and the pursuit became so hazardous the chasing officers gave up.

But the speeding Ford Fiesta was seen by a police helicopter and they alerted officers on the ground who were able to block in Edwards after he drove to an address in Fairgreen Gardens.

It was not clear how Edwards came to be in possession of the Fiesta, which had been stolen four months earlier, said Mr Searle and he faced no charges in connection with the theft of the vehicle.

Edwards, of Malvern Crescent, Holly Hall, admitted dangerous driving and having no insurance or licence and the judge ruled only an immediate jail term was appropriate.

Kam Shergill, defending, told the court he had panicked when he saw the patrol car and the situation had then "spiralled out of control".