A TRANSIT van crashed into a garden where a child had been playing minutes earlier after a tow rope snapped.

A court heard Italian Salvatore Gatto was trying to tow the long-wheelbase vehicle with his Fiat Cinquecento.

And the garden owner, who witnessed the incident, was staggered to see there was nobody in the van as it was being towed.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Andrew Gray, whose two-year-old son had been playing in the garden where the van came to rest after crashing through the fence.

Gatto, 52, of Worcester Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

He was fined £100, ordered to pay £100 compensation and £58 costs and banned from driving for 12 months.

Helen Oats, defending, said it had been a very unfortunate series of events.

“He was trying to tow the van on his own and clearly that was wrong,” said Miss Oats. He was fully co-operative and apologised for the damage caused.”

Miss Oates said Gatto was a man of previous good character who had lived in the UK for 12 years and worked as a tiler.