British actor Idris Elba used to sneak to school behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper - when he was just 13.

The Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom star picked the vehicle up for just $85 (£50) and became a hero overnight, years before he could legally take his driving test.

He explains, "I had a goatee... As soon as I could grow a beard, I was like, 'This is a good idea, I'll buy a car', so I bought this car for 50 quid (pounds). It was a little Mini Cooper... I used to drive to school and park around the back."

And he kept his motoring secret from his parents by parking his Mini around the corner from their house.

His sneaky car plan was perfect until he had an encounter with his dad's best friend.

The Thor star explains, "One day, my dad's best friend... parked in front of me and I'm trying to get out first thing in the morning to go to school and I smashed into the back of his car.

"I ended up having to work for him at his construction company while I fixed his car. My dad didn't find out until I was about 16."

The car helped him pick up a 19-year-old girlfriend when he was 14.

The actor adds, "It was a good life, man. Her name was Judith and she was lovely, beautiful and I used to stay around her house, but I'd tell my mum and dad I was staying around my boy's (friend's) house."

He managed to con his girlfriend into thinking she was dating a real man by telling her he was off to work in the mornings, rather than heading to school, and when she stumbled across his homework, he told Judith that his boss made him do his children's school work.