A DUDLEY rogue who swam to the island in the lake at the Wrens Nest Nature Reserve in a bid to evade police officers after a terrifying high speed chase in which he rammed a patrol car has been jailed for seven years.

Judge Simon Ward described 37-year-old Christopher Straker as a "career criminal" adding: "You have become a public menace."

Straker, of Nith Place, was wanted by police for a string of crimes when he was spotted by patrolling officers driving a VW Golf that had been reported stolen just hours earlier.

He accelerated away from the police and hit over 100mph as he went through traffic lights on red while driving on the wrong side of a dual carriageway, said James Bruce prosecuting.

Straker swerved to avoid oncoming traffic as the police boxed in his vehicle but he bulldozed his way out by smashing into the patrol car, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

He then abandoned the car and ran to the Nature Reserve where he jumped into the lake but he was quickly spotted by police who found a boat and rowed across to arrest him, added Mr Bruce.

At the time, the court heard, Straker was on the run having failed to appear in court to answer a charge of producing cannabis at his home.

And, while he was wanted, he committed four burglaries in the Dudley area leaving a nine-year-old boy in one of the properties badly shaken and frightened.

Straker who had 51 previous convictions on his criminal record admitted the break-ins, driving dangerously, failing to stop for police and cultivating cannabis.

He was further disqualified from driving for three years on his release from prison by the judge who ruled only a substantial prison sentence was appropriate for his offending.