Shocking video footage has been released showing a Lithuanian lorry driver travelling the wrong way down a motorway slip road - before performing a u-turn into the path of oncoming traffic.
Leonid Papachin, 51, was caught on camera carrying out the "dangerous and illegal manoeuvre" in his 40 tonne truck on the busy M6 Toll near Shenstone, Staffs.
The dramatic footage captures the terrifying moment he drove his articulated Volvo lorry the wrong way along the slip road at junction T5 on October 23.
The Lithuanian national then pulls on to the hard shoulder, realising his mistake as cars exit the carriageway heading directly towards him.
Incredibly, the dopey driver then carries out a u-turn into three lanes of oncoming traffic, before driving off the right way along the busy motorway.
Motorway police were alerted by stunned CCTV controllers and managed to stop the 54 ft (16m) lorry a short time later.
Papachin was arrested and he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Cannock Magistrates Court on October 30.
The HGV driver escaped jail and was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £85 costs. He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pass an extended test of competence to regain his licence.
Motorway Patrol Manager, Chief Inspector Jed White, from Central Motorway Police Group, said: "Unfortunately this type of incident is all too common on the motorway network, especially the M6 Toll, where drivers attempt to avoid charges for using the road.
"On this occasion the driver should have contacted motorway police immediately to help him manoeuvre safely.
"We will always prosecute offenders and, as this case demonstrates, the penalties can be quite severe.
"I hope that it serves as a deterrent to anyone who thinks they can put other motorists in jeopardy by ignoring motorway regulations."
Video credit: SWNS