A TEENAGE motorist wrote-off his father’s relatively new BMW car through his own inexperience at the wheel, a court heard.

Mitchell David Welch was only 17 at the time of the accident, which took place in built-up traffic on Victoria Road, Darlington, on December 20, 2017.

Durham Crown Court was told Welch, of previous good character, was driving the high-powered sports coupe model on the A167, shortly before 3pm that day.

Robin Patton, prosecuting, told the court: “It’s difficult to understand why a parent would allow their child to drive a car like that, with limited experience. It led to inevitable problems.

“It was heavy slow-moving traffic approaching a roundabout travelling in the easterly direction when witnesses described hearing it accelerate.

“But, it began to fish-tail and the defendant lost control, mounted the central reservation, collided with a post and then a tree.

“A woman nearby thought it was coming directly at her car, before it hit the tree, and was left a write -off.”

Mr Patton said both Welch and his front seat passenger suffered minor head injuries.

He told police he was insured, having been a qualified driver for 14 months, and said he and his passenger, his cousin, were on their way to go Christmas shopping at the time.

Welch said a car outside of him suddenly cut in to change lane and he panicked, trying to accelerate through before it moved into his lane.

Mr Patton said: “It’s accepted his vehicle was travelling in excess of the speed limit to a high level for a short time, with pedestrians nearby.

“As it was within two years of his driving test the award of anything over six penalty points means he will be automatically disqualified.”

Welch, now 19, of Cobden Street, Darlington, denied dangerous driving, but admitted careless driving.

Following submission of a defence driving expert’s report, the Crown accepted those pleas and agreed not to proceed with the dangerous driving charge.

Ben Rich, for Welch, said the defendant needs to drive for work for the groundworks company he set up this year.

He said Welch, who neither drinks or smokes, has had no further problems driving and, “his main concern”, is to keep his licence.

Asked about the insurance situation, Mr Rich said it is hoped the policy will provide cover even for a careless driving conviction, but dangerous driving may have proved more problematic.

Judge Christopher Prince imposed a £425 fine, with £185 costs and £42.50 statutory surcharge, with 56 days to pay the full £652.50.

He awarded Welch five penalty points, enabling him to remain a legally permitted driver.