A ROGUE teenage driver ditched a car on train tracks, panicked and then ran away.

Ryan Prater has admitted to obstructing an engine on train tracks after he abandoned a Ford Fiesta on the rails at a level crossing.

The 19-year-old was behind the wheel at the time of the ditching, which happened on a crossing in Mucking Wharf Road, Stanford-le-Hope, in the early hours of the morning on April 22.

Prater appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday dressed in a white buttoned shirt, where he admitted the charge.

He was also charged with damaging train tracks - a much lesser offence - during the same incident, which he has denied.

The court was told that Prater had been in the car with two “friends of friends” who had made him drive the vehicle for about eight minutes. Prater claims, while the car was going over the crossing, the person in the passenger seat grabbed the wheel and turned it to the left, forcing him to go onto the tracks.

Prater and the other two men then left the car and fled.

The 19-year-old argues he had tried to reverse the car away from the tracks, but failed because it became stuck on the line.

He claims he then ran away “in a panic” as the two men had refused to give him a phone to call the police.

Crown Prosecution Service bosses will now decide whether they will accept this basis of plea or have a Newton hearing.

The matter will then be heard on Monday.

Addressing Prater in court, Judge Andrew Hurst said: “You had pleaded guilty to the more serious of the two charges. There won’t be a trial. The document you provided is what the prosecution needs to consider.

“We will not push for a decision today because it would not be fair on you or them.”

Prater, of Crofton Avenue, Corringham, was released on unconditional bail.