A motorway was brought to a standstill after a Halloween-style fake arm was spotted on a slip road by drivers, police said today.
Thousands of motorists were caught up in the travel chaos for several hours yesterday as officers closed the M62 in Merseyside, fearing the limb could be from a real person.
The search was sparked after several members of the public reported they had seen the severed bloody forearm, Merseyside Police said.
After an extensive hunt by officers and the Northwest Motorway Group, the joke shop limb was recovered.
The drama ended shortly after 4.30pm after two council workers who had heard about the incident contacted police to tell them they had found a fake arm on the carriageway earlier in the day, and the road was reopened.
Detective Inspector Tom Keaton, from Knowsley CID, said: "This was treated as a major investigation that tied up large amounts of resources and impacted on all areas of policing response in Knowsley.
"We don't how this plastic arm came to be in the middle of the road, whether it was placed there deliberately or whether it had fallen out of the window of a passing vehicle.
"However, Merseyside Police put a lot of resources into this incident and not only has it caused expense both in terms of time and money, it caused traffic chaos for motorists and was extremely upsetting for the drivers who saw the plastic arm in the road.
"We would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding while this enforced road closure was in place."