Adeel Habib, from Harehills, ran the Certi Drivers YouTube channel that featured him driving performance cars.
The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to both dangerous driving and a relatively rare offence of encouraging dangerous driving under the Serious Crime Act 2007 at Leeds Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday).
Habib came to West Yorkshire Police’s attention during work to target dangerous driving and anti-social behaviour at illegal car meets in West Yorkshire that were attracting large numbers of people from across the region to industrial estates, retail parks and the road network.
A spokesperson for the force said that operations were put in place to disrupt and deter the Sunday evening events that generally started from Habib’s Certi Touch workshop, in Florence Street, Harehills.
Officers built up evidence of Habib’s own dangerous driving and its ability to encourage others to follow his example after scouring through his online videos. The force said “those videos and the notoriety that surrounded his brand had the ability to influence others.”
The videos showed him driving a range of high-performance cars dangerously on public roads, including at excessive speeds, weaving in and out of traffic, racing other drivers, and ignoring red traffic lights.
While he was under investigation for the driving offences, which were committed between December 2020 and October 2021, Habib was sentenced to four years imprisonment for his part in a drugs supply conspiracy.
He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and an offence of doing an act which was capable of encouraging or assisting dangerous driving, intending to encourage or assist in its commission.
He appeared at Leeds Crown Court by videolink and was sentenced to 27 months. He was also disqualified from driving.
Inspector Richard Horn, who heads the Leeds North-East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Habib has been shown to be someone who regularly engaged in dangerous driving on public roads with all the potential risk of harm to other road users that accompanies such appalling behaviour.
“He was absolutely shameless about it and showed utter contempt for law-abiding road users and the law by regularly posting videos of his antics to impress his many followers.
“Those videos and the notoriety that surrounded his ‘brand’ clearly had the ability to influence others to flout road traffic laws and put other road users at risk, and he was rightly charged with an offence that specifically recognised that aspect of his behaviour.
“His own arrogance was his downfall in that those videos provided us with a rich seam of material to present to the court and have him answer for his actions.
“We hope his conviction and the sentence he has received will provide some source of reassurance to the public who I am sure will have been horrified by his dangerous driving and glamourising of it.
“It should also send a very clear message to those who think they can take part in and promote criminal behaviour in this way without having to face the consequences.”