A couple have described the moment a car being chased by police crashed into their drive as they were getting ready for bed.

The Ford Fiesta, which had been pursued from Ilford and driven through Chigwell, Stapleford Abbotts, Havering-atte-Bower, Coxtie Green and Brentwood, smashed into Sally and Graham Gowing’s front garden in St James’s Avenue, Ongar, at about 11pm on Saturday.

Mrs Gowing said: “We were upstairs getting ready for bed and heard this crash.

“I looked out of the window and couldn’t believe my eyes. There seemed to be police everywhere, swarming over this car.

“I realised they were trying to get the driver out.”

Their son-in-law went to see what was happening and the family was told to stay inside until police had arrested the male driver.

Mr Gowing said: “It was a hell of a loud bang and there were sirens, police dogs and a helicopter.

“There were three cars parked on the drive and the Fiesta went into the back of the Peugeot 106 and bounced to the Mazda sports car.

“The Mazda was shunted into the garage door, which hit a classic Triumph Spitfire in the garage.”

The couple, who have lived in the road for about 30 years and in Ongar for nearly 50, feared the impact of the crash may have damaged their home as well.

“We were worried about the brickwork,” said Mr Gowing. “But there were concrete planters in front of the house, so it bashed into that instead.

“The actual damage, surprisingly, is not as extensive as we thought it was.”

He said after the arrest had been made, police emptied the Fiesta and what looked like a gun landed on the road.

A 24-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and having a knife in a public place.

He was released on bail to return to Essex Police on August 29.