A CARLISLE motorist who was rushing home along the A66 because he had been told his child was ill drove inside a coned-off section of road - in the wrong direction.

The stretch of road involved had been sealed off with cones in order to protect workmen who had been using the area as they were cutting grass just outside Penrith, the city's crown court was told.

An astonished lorry driver who witnessed the incident said he had never seen anything like it in his 20 years as a professional driver.

Lukasz Conior, 32, of Latrigg Road, Carlisle, denied a charge of dangerous driving but pleaded guilty to careless driving. The prosecution accepted those pleas.

Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, described how a trucker was travelling westwards along the A66 near Penrith, heading towards Keswick, when he noticed the defendant's car passing him on his right hand side.

That section of road was coned off to protect workmen.

The lorry driver was surprised to see a car on that section of road.

"It shouldn't have been in that lane and was travelling in the wrong direction," said Mr Rogerson. The trucker's passenger recorded a seven second video clip of the driving.

Mr Rogerson added the lorry driver had made a second statement for police, emphasising how dangerous he felt the driver's actions were and how shocked he and his passenger had been to see this.

The man's statement added: "I have never seen anything like it and I've been driving HGVs for 20 years.

"A member of the workforce could have been seriously injured due to this reckless and careless driving."

Even the defendant, when interviewed, admitted he had not felt particularly safe as he drove in the coned off area.

Jeff Smith, for Conior, said the defendant was aware that the workmen were not on the road at the time.

"He'd had a message to say his six month old child was ill," said the lawyer.

He drove at between 30mph and 40mph over the stretch of road involved.

Judge Nicholas Barker told the defendant: "This was a serious piece of driving and could well have put others at serious risk." He imposed a £600 fine, with £200 costs and imposed six penalty points on the defendant's licence.