Motorway U-turn lorry driver banned
Traffic police have released footage of the moment a lorry driver performed a U-turn on a busy motorway after driving the wrong way up an exit slip-road.
The film, released by the Central Motorway Police Group, shows Leonid Papachin performing the highly dangerous manoeuvre in a 40-tonne truck on the M6 Toll in Staffordshire.
Motorway police, alerted by CCTV controllers, stopped the lorry a short time later and arrested Papachin.
The 51-year-old, who lives in Lithuania, was given a 15-week suspended prison term at Cannock Magistrates' Court last month after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.
The haulier, who was assisted by a Russian interpreter, was also ordered to pay £85 costs and banned from driving for 18 months.
Prosecutors told the court that Papachin had been working in the UK for two months when he committed the offence at around 5.30pm on Thursday October 23.
The court heard that initially tried to leave the M6 Toll at junction T5, near Lichfield, but his cash card was not accepted at a payment booth.
He then attempted to use an intercom service but could not make himself understood, and eventually decided to turn around and drive up the exit slip road.
Commenting on the incident, Motorway Patrol Manager, Chief Inspector Jed White, said: "Unfortunately this type of incident is all too common on the motorway network, especially the M6 Toll, where drivers attempt to avoid charges for using the road.
"On this occasion the driver should have contacted motorway police immediately to help him manoeuvre safely.
"We will always prosecute offenders and, as this case demonstrates, the penalties can be quite severe.
"Our CCTV systems cover the majority of carriageways and are monitored 24/7, so there is no hiding place.
"I hope that it serves as a deterrent to anyone who thinks they can put other motorists in jeopardy by ignoring motorway regulations."