A RUNCORN man has been jailed after claiming a van he drove into a taxi had been stolen from outside his home.

George Ellis, of The Wharf, fled the scene of the crash and the following morning contacted Cheshire Constabulary to claim burglars had stolen the van from outside his home.

Police untangled the 24-year-old's web of lies and Ellis was jailed for 12 months after admitting charges of dangerous driving, failing to stop following a collision and perverting the course of justice.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

George Ellis

The head-on collision occurred on the A56 Chester Road in Preston Brook, Runcorn, shortly before 10.30pm on Tuesday October 23.

Activating the deployment of airbags in both vehicles it left the taxi driver, a 25-year-old man from Ellesmere Port, with minor injuries that required hospital treatment and caused more than £30,000 worth of damage to his vehicle.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

The damaged taxi

Dashcam footage from the taxi shows that the van was travelling on the wrong side of the road when the collision occurred.

Ellis was able to get out of the van and flee the scene on foot following the collision.

He made his bogus burglary and van theft report to the police the following day in a bid to evade justice.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

The damaged van

Ellis also reported the van as being stolen to an insurance company.

Officers investigated Ellis' claims and with his story failing to add up he was arrested on Monday October 29.

During police questioning Ellis admitted crashing the van and confessed that his burglary report was a complete fabrication.

Forensic analysis of his mobile phones revealed messages to a friend in which Ellis admitted fleeing the scene after causing the collision.

Ellis was sentenced for his crimes at Chester Crown Court on Monday.

He was jailed for 12 months, ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge and banned from driving for three-and-a-half years.

Ellis will have to take an extended retest to get his driving licence back.

Police Constable Stuart Beswick, who led the investigation at Runcorn Local Policing Unit, said: "At 6.40am on Wednesday 24 October George Ellis reported to us that the keys to his dad's van had been stolen from his house in Runcorn and the vehicle itself was then stolen from the driveway.

"The truth was that the previous night he had driven it on the wrong side of the road on the way home from watching a football match at a hotel.

"He collided head-on with a taxi, and after briefly talking to the driver he fled the scene on foot.

"The taxi driver was left with minor injuries which required hospital treatment and the collision caused extensive damage to both vehicles.

"The consequences of this incident could have been far worse.

"Forty-six people died on Cheshire's roads last year, with many of these collisions caused by dangerous driving.

"Ellis told a series of lies in a bid to evade justice regarding his dangerous driving, to no avail.

"We are delighted that he is now behind bars facing the consequences of his actions and we hope that this case deters others from driving dangerously, fleeing the scene of a collision and attempting to pervert the course of justice."