Object that brought Northamptonshire M1 to a standstill was 'possibly container of hydrochloric acid', police says

Thames Valley Police is appealing for information after a highly corrosive substance was left on the M1 near Newport Pagnell.

Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 1:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 12:06 pm
The southbound carriageway opened last night at about 10.30pm.

Emergency services were called to the southbound carriageway of the M1 between junctions 15 and 14 at about 7.30am yesterday (September, 19) after a suspicious object was found under a bridge on the road connecting Little Linford and Gayhurst past Newport Pagnell services.

Inspector Scott Long of the Joint Roads Policing Unit for Thames Valley and Hampshire said: “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.

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“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 as an offence under Section 23 A of the Road Traffic Act, which is placing an item on a highway or carriageway with intent to cause danger to other road users.

“Anyone with any information about the incident, including any motorists who may have dashcam footage of the object being left at the scene, are urged to contact Thames Valley Police by calling 101 and quoting reference 138 (19/9).

“There is no evidence to suggest that this is a terrorist-related incident.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused to motorists who were stuck in queues yesterday but your safety, and the safety of our officers and the staff of our partner agencies, Is our priority. We thank the public for their cooperation and patience while the object was examined by both Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and then cleared by the fire service and Highways England.

“The northbound carriageway was reopened at about 5pm and the southbound carriageway was reopened at about 9pm.”