17-year-old to appear in court over M3 'hazardous material' closure

The closed M3 (PA)
The closed M3 (PA)

A teenage boy has been charged over the 11-hour closure of the M3 motorway which was shut down last week after ‘potentially hazardous material’ was found.

The 17-year-old will appear before Basingstoke magistrates on Monday.

The incident happened on Saturday September 23, causing huge delays for thousands of drivers between junctions nine and 11 of the motorway runs from Surrey to the south coast through cities such as Winchester and Southampton.

It is the latest in a number of long delays to hit British motorway drivers.

The teenager, from Winchester, faces two counts of arson with intent to endanger life and two of causing danger to road users, said Hampshire Police.

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He will also appear before the court on Monday over an incident on the M3 on September 16.

The discovery of the partly-ignited substance on the 23rd led to military bomb disposal experts being called to the motorway near Winchester.

One frustrated traveller does a handstand while waiting on the M3 (@nerryropez)
One frustrated traveller does a handstand while waiting on the M3 (@nerryropez)

The road was closed down shortly before 4am, not re-opening to mid-afternoon, prompting criticism of the police for lack of information.

The substance was apparently thrown from a bridge.

Among those drivers affected were many football fans on the way to Southampton for a Premier League clash between the Saints and Manchester United.