M1 closed while police probe 'suspicious object'

The M1 has been closed in both directions while police investigate a suspicious object found under a bridge near Newport Pagnell

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Highly corrosive substance caused M1 chaos

Police say a highly corrosive substance led to the M1 closure

Thames Valley Police are appealing for information after a highly corrosive substance was left on the M1 near Newport Pagnell forcing the closure of the road for most of yesterday.

Hundreds of cars and lorries were trapped on the motorway while the bomb squad investigated a container filled with acid-like liquid found under a bridge near Newport Pagnell.

There is no suggestion the incident was terrorist related but the police want to know how it got there.

We are appealing to anyone who knows why or how this object was left under a bridge about two miles past the Newport Pagnell services on the southbound carriageway of the M1. The object Is a 5 litre container in a large black refuse bag which found at about 7.30am yesterday.

The object has now been removed from the scene in a secure container but is still being analysed, however, we do know the substance it is a highly corrosive material, possibly hydrochloric acid, which has reacted with another substance causing it to discharge onto lane one and lane two of the southbound carriageway.

We are keeping an open mind as to how the object was left at the scene but at this stage we are investigating the incident to see if it was placed there with intent to cause danger to other road users.

Anyone with any information about the incident, including any motorists who may have dash cam footage of the object being left at the scene, are urged to contact Thames Valley Police by calling 101

– Insp Scott Long, Thames Valley Police

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M1 northbound reopens after more than eight hours

Parts of the M1 have been deserted all day Credit: ITV Anglia

The M1 northbound has finally reopened after more than eight hours.

It was closed while police and emergency services investigated a suspicious object under a bridge at Newport Pagnell.

The object was discovered not to contain explosives.

Thousands of drivers were stationary in queues for hours. The southbound carriageway is still closed.

Drivers find time for football on M1

Bored drivers had games of football on the opposite carriageway Credit: @ChampBubblee

Frustrated travellers played football, frisbee and touch rugby on the M1 after police closed the motorway for hours.

Thousands sat in gridlock from at least 8am, when Thames Valley Police closed the three-lane motorway between junctions 14 and 15 because of a "suspicious object".

Liz Searle, chief executive at the Keech Hospice in Luton, said she had been impressed by the good humour of everyone trapped on the side of the road.

"Everybody was being so helpful and chatty and high-spirited," she said, "which is lovely to see despite the circumstances."

Mrs Searle escaped the gridlock when police began to turn traffic around.

A spokesman for Highways England said the amount of traffic trapped was "down to about three or four kilometres" from a previous high of six kilometres, but could not comment on the details of the "suspicious object".

One driver's hoody had an appropriate message Credit: @ChampBubblee
Bored drivers had games of football on the opposite carriageway Credit: @ChampBubblee

Police say object on M1 does not contain explosives

The substance does not contain explosives Credit: ITV Anglia

Thames Valley Police say investigations have revealed the object that's closed the M1 for seven hours does not contain explosives.

Investigation by the EOD [explosive ordnance disposal] can confirm that there is no explosive element to the object found," said Thames Valley Police in a statement.

Investigators are continuing a chemical analysis of the object to determine its make-up.

Aerial footage showed a bomb disposal robot dragging a black rubbish bag off the hard shoulder, which appeared to have contained a liquid and yellow substance.

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Bomb disposal van heads to suspicious object

Bomb disposal van on way to suspicious object on M1 Credit: ITV Anglia

A bomb disposal team has been seen making its way to the suspicious object on the M1 at Newport Pagnell.

The lorry went past stationary traffic on the motorway using the hard shoulder.

Trapped traffic on M1 being turned round

Traffic at a standstill on the M1 Credit: Stuart Paterson
Cars have been trapped on the M1 for hours Credit: Stuart Paterson
The M1 in Northampton is eerily quiet Credit: ITV Anglia

Traffic trapped on the M1 is being turned round so drivers can exit the motorway.

Highways England say it will take some time to release the drivers.

The road has been closed since just after 8am while emergency services investigate a suspicious object found under a bridge at Newport Pagnell.

Some drivers already stuck on M1 for nearly two hours

Some drivers have already been trapped for nearly two hours Credit: Chantelle Hambridge

Thousands of drivers are trapped within the closures on the M1 while emergency services work to investigate the suspicious object.

Chantelle Hambridge says she's been stationary on the M1 for one hour and 40 minutes.

Highways England says work to release the trapped drivers will begin as soon as possible but is warning it has not yet started and will take time when it does begin.

The M1 in Northampton is eerily quiet Credit: ITV Anglia

There are reports that some people have left their cars and are walking back to junction 14 to use services at Newport Pagnell.

Some drivers say the road appears to have reopened Northbound but is still stuck going South.

Five mile queues due to M1 incident

There are warnings of five mile queues on the approaches to the M1 incident Credit: Highways England

Drivers trying to use the M1 are facing five mile queues as police investigate a suspicious object found under a bridge at Newport Pagnell.

National Express says 45 minutes is being added to travel times and coaches are being diverted.

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