HGV driver appears in court accused of causing £43,000 of damage to East Coast Main Line crossing

A HGV driver has appeared in court accused of causing GBP43,000-worth of damage by hitting a barrier at a level crossing. Dennis Scanlon was alleged to have caused delays to rail services between Newcastle and Morpeth when he struck the barrier at a crossing in Morpeth in December last year. The 51-year-old was in the dock on Wednesday charged with one count of driving without due care, which he denied.

James Long, prosecuting at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court, said Scanlon was behind the wheel of an HGV lorry when the accident allegedly occurred. He said: "It's a British Transport Police prosecution and the case involves GBP43,000-worth of damage caused to a level crossing." The court heard that Scanlon, of Fairfield Grove, Rothwell, in Leeds, was accused of hitting the barrier at the crossing on Bennetts Walk, in Morpeth, on December 16 last year.

As reported by Chroniclelive at the time, delays were caused to train services between Newcastle and Berwick as Network Rail staff assessed the damage. Jason Smith, defending, said a trial would rely on video evidence taken from Scanlon's lorry.

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He added: "This is an allegation of careless driving. The defendant is an HGV truck driver and the allegation is he was driving on a railway crossing at the time when he was restricted from doing so because of the lights and barriers.

"He has a video that shows that, in fact, his vehicle was already across the crossing before the lights came on and the barrier came down."

During the hearing, Scanlon spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address and to enter his not guilty plea.

Magistrates set the case down for an hour-long trial on August 28 back at the same court.

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