Jobless Nicholas Walton hit the road when he found his savings vanished after visiting pals, a court heard.
He sent text messages to say he was on his way to find it - but the venture ended with him getting 12 weeks in jail this week.
Walton was caught driving dangerously after leaving his home on Widmerpool Street, Pinxton at 4am on April 9, magistrates heard.
He had been in Nottingham with the cash because he hoped to find a new home in the city. He was spotted in the outskirts at the wheel of a car which had no insurance.
It was only doing 10mph but sped up when police signalled him to stop, the court in Nottingham heard on Monday. In a 30-mph zone, he was clocked at double the legal speed limit.
Daniel Pietryka, prosecuting, said: “He didn’t slow down sufficiently or stop at junctions with limited visibility.
“He drove through two red traffic lights and was going too fast. He crashed into a road sign, got out of the vehicle and started to run away but was detained shortly afterwards by the police.”
When questioned, Walton said he visited friends earlier that day and had the money with him. “When he returned, he found that it was no longer there and got into a car to get the cash.
“He didn’t stop for the police because he thought they wanted to talk because he had been hassling his friends over the money,” added Mr Pietryka.
A two-year driving ban was imposed on Walton, 39. He admitted dangerous driving, having no insurance, breaching his licence and having cannabis. He must pay a £115 government surcharge.
Rory Macmillan, mitigating, said Walton and his partner wanted to move back to Nottingham to be closer to family members.
“They had saved a considerable amount of money to look at a property. While they were with friends at an address of people they knew, the money unbeknown to them went missing.
“When they got back to Pinxton, they realised the money had gone. Very unwisely, he went back to Nottingham in a Peugeot he bought to do up.
“At about 4am, he texted people to say the money had gone missing and he was coming back for it. He sent texts and messages, saying he was coming over to sort out the matter.
“When the police wanted to stop him, he thought it was connected with that. As he described it to the police, he went into ‘flight mode’ and drove away not thinking.
“This was not premeditated dangerous driving,” said Mr Macmillan, who told the court that the streets were quiet.
Magistrates heard that jobless Walton had several previous convictions, including one for dangerous driving. If he wants to get behind the wheel again, he will have to take an extended driving test.
Presiding magistrate David Crossley told him: “This was a very serious case of dangerous driving.”
As he was led to the cells, Walton called to his partner: “Love you babe, yeah.”