A CREWKERNE man accused of leading the police on a high speed road chase where he threw a shotgun out of the window has been remanded in custody by magistrates.

James Bushnell was already on bail and failed to attend a previous court hearing before Christmas when he was allegedly spotted by officers in a vehicle on New Year’s Eve and then pursued through the streets of Crewkerne.

When he was eventually detained it was discovered he was a banned driver and had no insurance, Somerset Magistrates were told.

Bushnell, 29, of South Street, was brought before the court at Yeovil in custody after being arrested following the incident.

He was charged that on December 31 at Crewkerne he was in possession of a firearm, namely a small shotgun.

He was also alleged to have driven a Silver Mercedes vehicle dangerously on South Street, Crewkerne, and drove it dangerously and while disqualified from holding a driving licence and without insurance. He did not enter any pleas to those offences.

However the defendant admitted a further offence of assaulting a female by beating her during a separate incident at Crewkerne on December 1 after he had previously pleaded not guilty to the allegation.

The magistrates said the case was so serious that he would have to be sent straight to Taunton Crown Court to be dealt with.

Defending solicitor Paul Light said his client claimed he had been given the gun by a friend and he thought he would just keep it as a souvenir.

When he saw the police he panicked, drove away from them and threw the weapon out of his car window.

The case was adjourned until February 3 when Bushnell must appear before a pre-trial hearing at the crown court.

However he was ordered to return to the court at Yeovil on January 31 to be sentenced for the matter of assault.

Until then he was remanded in custody after an application by the defence for him to be released on bail was refused.