A POLICE officer was hurt during a cross-city car chase which ended in a jack-knifing accident on the A64 near York.

The officer, PC James Noble, suffered whiplash injuries and slight leg injuries when the police Volvo estate he was travelling in crashed while chasing a stolen grey Ford Granada towing a trailer.

Police were unable to say if the two cars had been in collision with each other, or just when the police car came to grief.

The drama began just before 10pm last night when thieves pulled up at a house in Boroughbridge Road, York, in the Granada, which had been stolen from Harrogate.

They hitched a trailer carrying a motorbike to the car and drove off towards the centre of the city.

But they were spotted by the owner's son and the police were alerted.

Only minutes later police officers saw the car in Holgate Road.

They lost sight of it briefly near the iron bridge, but soon picked up the trail again in Tadcaster Road.

It is believed at this point two men were seen attempting to abandon the car and escape.

But the vehicle then sped off at 50mph down Tadcaster Road and hurtled through red traffic lights, heading towards Askham Bar.

Police said the stolen car had a tyre "blow-out" while negotiating the Askham Bar interchange but managed to continue on to the A64 heading for Leeds.

Traffic officers took over the pursuit and the car was finally stopped on the westbound carriageway of the A64 at Copmanthorpe.

One man was seen to run from the vehicle and a police dog team was called in to search the surrounding countryside.

But, despite a lengthy trawl of the area, no one was found and the search was called off around midnight.

One witness, who drove past the scene, said: "It was quite a dramatic sight. It looked like the car and the trailer had jack-knifed and the trailer had ended up in front of the car.

"There were two police Volvos there and I could see one of them had had a bit of a knock. It's lucky nobody was seriously hurt."

PC Noble was said to have "retired from shift" after he was injured.

Anyone with any information which could help police trace the people from the car should call officers on 01904 631321.

Updated: 15:49 Thursday, October 31, 2002