DRAMATIC CCTV footage has been released showing a van smashing through a level crossing barrier.

The vehicle is shown forcing its way over railway tracks in Sunningdale, despite warning lights being active for more than 10 seconds.

The incident happened shortly before a train passed through and caused more than 10 hours of delays to services, as well as costing taxpayers more than £60,000.

Network Rail level crossing manager Mark O'Flynn said it was only through "sheer luck" that no-one was injured by the driver's "reckless actions".

He went on: "People often underestimate the danger at crossings and how quickly trains are travelling.

"When you don't follow the rules it's not just your life you're putting at risk.

"Shaving a couple of minutes off your journey is simply not worth it."

Network Rail said the driver, Emanuel Goagara, 36, of Mollison Way, Edgware, north London, was handed an 18-month driving ban, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in compensation at Staines Magistrates' Court on December 12.

He pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle dangerously, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.

Investigating officer, Pc Joel Freeman-White, of British Transport Police, said Goagara "put himself and others in danger", risking his life and that of the train driver and passengers.

He continued: "I'm pleased that he has been convicted of this criminal offence and hope that his case will be a warning to other motorists or pedestrians who might be tempted to misuse level crossings."