A DRUG addict who threatened police officers with a bloody syringe before stealing their patrol car has been jailed for nearly four years.

Andrew Gill sped off in the car, forcing other motorists to take evasive action before he was finally cornered on a 35ft high bridge overlooking Duncan Edwards Way in Dudley.

Gill, a long term addict, then tried to jump but officers managed to grab his legs - potentially saving his life and that of drivers below had he been successful, said Katie Fox, prosecuting.

She told Wolverhampton Crown Court that Gill had been arrested in the High Street for breaching the conditions of his licence and he was put into the back of the patrol car.

But he then became aggressive after telling the officers he was desperate for a "score".

He produced the syringe and said: "I have got a dirty needle covered in blood. If you don't let me out I will stab you."

One officer pushed Gill towards the door as he reached for his spray to help restrain him but the defendant then attacked the second officer, said Miss Fox.

In the struggle, the keys to the patrol car were dropped and snatched by Gill who, despite being sprayed, climbed into the driver's seat and sped off before driving erratically along the congested Birmingham New Road.

A number of other drivers had to swerve to avoid being hit by the patrol car, with Gill carrying out a handbrake turn before the vehicle was spotted at a petrol station.

Gill then ran to the bridge and tried to jump off, said Miss Fox who added: "He would almost 'certainly have killed himself or motorists below if his bid had been successful."

The 30-year-old, formerly of Dudley, now of no fixed address, admitted possessing an offensive weapon, robbery and driving dangerously and while disqualified.

Judge Dean Kersham told him it was extremely serious offending as he jailed him for 46 months and banned him from driving for five years on his release from custody.

Jason Patel, defending, said Gill's life had been blighted by his addiction to class A drugs and his actions on the day had been down to "sheer madness".

The court was told Gill who had 54 previous convictions on his criminal record had breached a 12 week jail term imposed for a public order offence when he was arrested by the two officers.