A van driver who drove off after hearing a thump when he lost control of his vehicle did not realise he had written off a car he had hit, Truro magistrates heard.

Jamie Allen, 40, of Scorrier, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report an accident on March 4.

Alison May for the Crown Prosecution Service said the occupant of a cottage at Scorrier had heard noises around 10pm and gone outside but could see no unfamiliar cars and no apparent problem. The next morning he found his car had a bent bonnet and several other signs of damage, with a large piece of white metal in the road which was not from his vehicle.

Allen was traced as the hirer of the van and accepted he had been driving at the time of the crash.

He said he had swerved and lost control, mounting the grass verge and striking a tree. No-one had come out and he left the scene.

He said he had been taken by surprise by another vehicle as he turned into the junction which caused him to panic and lose control.

David Harvey, his solicitor, said the van was larger than he was used to driving and after colliding with the tree he had heard a thump but did not think he damaged anything except a hedge.

He treated it as minor, driving off down the road to where he lived nearby.

Allen, a self-employed haulage and crane hire driver, was fined £350 and ordered to pay £75 costs and surcharge and given seven penalty points on his licence.