A HARD-working Lake District hotel chef clocked more than 100mph during a lengthy cross-border police pursuit at night in wet weather.

Provisional licence holder John Ewan Cook sped away from officers after initially stopping a Volkswagen Tiguan for them on the M6 northbound, close to to Junction 44 in North Cumbria, late on October 13.

Forty-year-old Cook left the motorway at the next turn-off near Gretna before streaking away from a patrol vehicle which hit a top speed of 113mph while desperately trying to keep up.

On his way home from a long shift at a Hawkshead hotel, Cook sped past built-up areas, along dark country roads and even through standing water during a 20-minute chase. This ended when the vehicle - which had a burst tyre - crashed through a wooden gate in his home village of Eastriggs near Annan in the Scottish Borders.

Cook, of Pretoria Road, Eastriggs, later admitted dangerous driving, no insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

He was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court when defence barrister Jane Dagnall told how Cook had “panicked” and acted “foolishly”. “The defendant has been a complete idiot in this case, and will forgive me for saying that,” she said.

However, Ms Dagnall also gave detailed mitigation about the father-of-three’s remorse, and his extremely difficult domestic circumstances. Of his work at Hawkshead, she said: “It is a very demanding job and he works long hours.”

Concluding that prison would have a “catastrophic” on Cook’s family, Judge Julie Clemitson suspended a 14-month jail term for two years. She ordered Cook to serve a two-year driving ban and pass an extended test.

Judge Clemitson told him: “You made a series of incredibly ill-judged and impulsive decisions which put yourself, police officers and anyone else who happened to be on the road at significant risk.”

The judge added: “It is a matter of good fortune there was nobody else using the road that night because on those narrow country roads, had someone been coming in the opposite direction at the speed you were travelling, the chances of avoiding a collision have to be fairly slim.”