A group of people believed to be illegal immigrants brought the M25 to a standstill when they emerged from a lorry and dashed along the carriageway.
The busy motorway was closed in both directions for around 30 minutes from 1pm, after at least six men jumped out of a freight vehicle near Cobham Services, Surrey.
Dog teams and a police helicopter helped officers on the ground to track the men down, who were detained at different times. Police arrested the group on suspicion of illegal entry into the UK.
Ross Gregory, who was on the M25 at the time, tweeted an image of the lengthy queue he was facing.
M25 Closed. Horrendous scenes for drivers. Some have decided the traffic is so bad they must step out of the car! pic.twitter.com/CZr8NeWhSw— Ross Gregory (@RossGregory30) July 9, 2015
One officer live-tweeted during the pursuit.
#M25 junction 10 - 9 in BOTH directions by Cobham Services. We have at least 4 males running around the main carriageway. It is now CLOSED— RPU - Surrey Police (@SurreyRoadCops) July 9, 2015
We have just detained two men. Another possible 5 still 'on the run'. More reports of more runners as we deal.— RPU - Surrey Police (@SurreyRoadCops) July 9, 2015
We have released both carriageways after detaining 6. Please drive with care. #M25 is OPEN Thanks for patience— RPU - Surrey Police (@SurreyRoadCops) July 9, 2015
The incident caused long tailbacks along the M25, which came as London’s roads were unusually busy during a capital-wide Tube strike running until 9:30pm on Thursday.
Additional reporting by PAReuse content