A reckless driver caused chaos when he drove his van through a level crossing, narrowly avoiding an oncoming train.

Emanuel Goagara, of Mollison Way, Edgware, smashed into the barrier in Sunningdale, Berkshire, causing more than ten hours of train delays.

Network Rail said he cost the taxpayer around £60,000 as it condemned his actions and issued a further warning about the risk of misusing level crossings.

In CCTV footage, the 36-year-old can be seen increasing his speed as he approaches the junction, despite the warning lights being active for more than ten seconds and the barrier almost fully-lowered.

He was fined £1,000, given an 18-month driving ban and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.

Mark O’Flynn, level crossing manager for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “It is only through sheer luck this driver’s reckless actions did not cause serious injury, or worse.

“Not only did he put himself in danger, but passengers and railway staff were also put in harm’s way.

“People often underestimate the danger at crossings and how quickly trains are travelling, and when you don’t follow the rules, it’s not just your life you’re putting at risk. Saving a couple of minutes off your journey is simply not worth it.

“We’re investing more than £100 million to improve level crossing safety across Britain, but we need motorists, as well as pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, to be responsible and alert at all times when using crossings.”

The British Transport Police supported this stance, urging everyone to show respect for and take appropriate care at level crossings.

Investigating officer Joel Freeman-White criticised Goagara for his selfish actions and noted how things could have been a lot worse.

He said: “I’m pleased that he has been convicted of this criminal offence and hope that his case will be a warning to other motorists or pedestrians who might be tempted to misuse level crossings.

“Trains travel at high speeds and it is vital that drivers and pedestrians follow the warning signs at level crossings to avoid injury or even death.

“We don’t want to be knocking on doors to tell someone their loved one has been injured or killed as a result of misusing a level crossing.”