A drunken farm hand from Barnstaple has been jailed after he rammed a police car and hid his damaged van in a barn.

Gavin Rookes pretended to stop when he was pulled over for drink driving near Okehampton on March 23, 2018, but then reversed so violently into the patrol car that he wrecked its engine.

The impact also shattered the rear windows of his Astra van but he sped off and dumped it behind heavy machinery in a barn at the farm near Iddesleigh where he worked.

He left the male and female officers in the police car with whiplash injuries, in shock, and stranded on the country road because their engine was damaged and would not start.

Rookes had drunk at least five pints at a pub in the village before driving off in the van, which police saw weaving around the A386 near Folly Gate.

The van was only found after the police put out a public appeal and Rookes's boss spotted it in one of his farm buildings.

Rookes, aged 40, of Chester Terrace, Barnstaple, admitted dangerous driving and driving while disqualified and with no insurance.

He was jailed for 16 months and banned from driving for five years after his release at Exeter Crown Court on Monday, May 13.

Judge Peter Johnson told him: "You knew you were a disqualified driver, you knew you had been drinking, and you decided to get away and avoid the police.

"You decided to immobilise the police car, there was no other reason for doing what you did. The two officers were shaken and injured.

"It did not end there. You drove off at high speed and hid the vehicle at the farm where you worked and then lied to police to try to avoid responsibility.

"You told the police it was their job to prove it and that is exactly what they did. They demolished your defence."

Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said Rookes has three previous convictions for drink driving and was serving a 38 month ban when he bought the van last year.

When Rookes was arrested, he denied being the driver of the van and said he had walked home from the pub. Police had to use evidence of where his mobile phone had been to disprove his story.

Ramsey Quaife, defending, said Rookes panicked because he feared he would be arrested and lose his job.