Officers were called to the Westmorland Way area of Cramlington in the early hours of Saturday morning following reports a person was driving dangerously in the area.
They soon spotted the van and instructed it to pull over. But instead of doing so, the driver hit the accelerator and drove the wrong way around a roundabout in a desperate bid to evade arrest.
A short time later, officers found the van abandoned in the Westwood Grange area and the driver had run off.
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However, officers from the force’s motor patrols department and dog section were on hand and quickly scoured the area. At the head of the search was police dog Obi, who wasted no time tracking the suspect down.
The dog then found what was believed to be the van’s key, which had been thrown away.
A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and various driving offences and taken into custody.
Chief Inspector Mick Hall, of Northumbria Police, said: “We all have a duty to take care when behind the wheel and help make our roads as safe as they possibly can be for everyone.
“Clearly the driver of the van showed a total disregard for both the law and the welfare of other road users as they refused to pull over for police, drove the wrong way around a roundabout and put lives in danger.
“In a desperate bid for freedom, the driver then made off on foot – but this case once again highlights the crucial supportive role that our dog section plays in the detection and disruption of crime.
“PD Obi picked up a scent and helped officers locate a suspect nearby, as well as locate the discarded key. He certainly deserved a few extra treats after his shift.
“We make no apology for our robust response to those who are a danger on our roads – and will continue to do everything we can to make our roads as safe as they can be for all.”
The man arrested remains under investigation and inquiries are ongoing.
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