A lorry driver brought part of Scotland’s rail network to a standstill by crashing his 25-tonne truck into a bridge.
Mark Flatt was driving a lorry which had a trailer more than 15 feet high when he tried to squeeze under a railway bridge with 14 feet of clearance.
All trains on the east coast line between Aberdeen and Perth had to be brought to a standstill which structural checks were carried out on the bridge.
At Perth Sheriff Court, Flatt, 54, admitted driving carelessly in Perth on August 31 last year and crashing into the railway bridge on Tay Street.
He admitted failing to observe warning signs in relation to the low bridge and trying to drive under it in a vehicle higher than the permitted height.
The court was told he had got lost while carrying out a run between Grangemouth and Aberdeen and had ended up in the centre of Perth.
Fiscal depute Lisa Marshall told the court: “The accused is an HGV driver. It was a lorry coupled with a three-axel curtain-sided trailer.
“Just after 2pm the accused was travelling north on Edinburgh Road. He then turned on to Tay Street. He failed to take notice of the warning signs in relation to the low bridge.
“The roof of the trailer struck the bridge and the accused brought the vehicle to a halt. There was extensive damage to the trailer and police were contacted.
“Due to it being a railway bridge, Network Rail were informed and a caution was placed on it, until the bridge structure and lines could be checked for safety.”
Mrs Marshall said the lorry was 13ft 2in tall, and the trailer was 15ft 3in. The bridge was restricted to 14ft clearance.
“Network Rail engineers attended and carried out safety inspections. The bridge integrity was not compromised and restrictions were lifted. The warning sign above the carriageway had been bent.”
Solicitor Pauline Cullerton, defending, said her client normally drove flat bed trucks but had been asked to drive the taller vehicle and was carrying a load of 25 tonnes.
“He took the wrong exit at Broxden roundabout and ended up in Perth town centre in error. He was trying to find his way out of Perth.
“He was worried his employer would wonder why he was in the town centre. He was driving at about five to 10 miles per hour. He had simply not thought about the height of the trailer, given his lack of experience driving high sided trailers. He felt the trailer hit the bridge.
“He immediately stopped and was able to reverse back out. Thankfully no significant damage was caused. Disqualification will cause him to lose his employment.”
She told the court Flatt already had six points on his licence and could face suspension as a lorry driver by the Traffic Commissioner.
Flatt, of Southbourne Road, Bournemouth, had sentence deferred until February 18 by Sheriff Neil Bowie.