Four men from London and Essex were arrested after being spotted climbing into the back of an HGV parked in a motorway services area in the early hours of Tuesday morning..
Officers from Northamptonshire Police Operations and Response teams detained all four on suspicion of conspiracy to steal.
One was arrested in the car park at Watford Gap services while three others fled but were tracked down with the help of a Police helicopter crew circling overhead.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: "The incident took place at about 2.10am on Tuesday at the southbound services on the M1 motorway, when three men were seen climbing into the back of the lorry.
"Officers arrested one man — a 37-year-old from East London — in the car park at the services on suspicion of conspiracy to steal. However, the three men in the lorry were seen to run off towards the surrounding fields.
"After an extensive search of the surrounding area by officers from the Operations and Response teams, with assistance from NPAS and the Police dog section, three men were found hiding in a nearby field.
"Officers arrested the men – a 27-year-old from East London, a 32-year-old and a 31-year-old both from Essex – on suspicion of conspiracy to steal. All four men remain in police custody."
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