Hemel Hempstead man handed suspended sentence for forcing closure of M25

PUBLISHED: 16:47 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 05 October 2018

Queues on the M25 near junction 22 when Dayle Smith forced it to be closed last summer. Picture: www.motorwaycameras.co.uk

Queues on the M25 near junction 22 when Dayle Smith forced it to be closed last summer. Picture: www.motorwaycameras.co.uk

Archant

A man has been given a suspended sentence for forcing the M25 to close for five hours, at a cost of over £1.8m.

Today, Dayle Smith, 30, of Bingham Close, was given a suspended sentence of eight months after being charged with causing a public nuisance.

Police negotiators had to bring him to safety after he was seen on the wrong side of the railings on the Shenley Lane motorway bridge on Tuesday, July 31. The M25 had to be closed in both directions between J21A to J22 clockwise and J21 and J23 anti-clockwise

He was also made subject to a six month Drug Rehabilitation Order, must complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity and complete 140 hours of unpaid work.

Former St Albans chief inspector Stuart Cheek said: “This was a hugely resource-intensive incident, which saw officers from various units across the county pulled away from their usual duties to bring Smith to safety, help with the motorway closure, check on motorists and turn vehicles around. We were also supported by traffic officers from Highways England to turn vehicles around, but due to the sheer volume of traffic this was a painfully slow process.

“The motorway closure also put additional pressure on our already busy control room where staff were receiving calls from frustrated and sometimes distressed motorists who had been stuck in their vehicles for several hours. This severely restricted our ability to respond to emergency calls from other members of the public who required the police urgently.

“Unfortunately we have no choice but to close the road in situations like this as we have a duty to protect the safety of motorists and I’d like to thank all those involved for their patience on that evening.

“The full cost of shutting the M25 is difficult to fully assess, however the cost of the delays have been estimated by Highways England as being in excess of £1.84 million. There is also the hard to measure additional cost and inconvenience to motorists who were stuck on the M25 and the need for a significant emergency response, which meant resources had to be diverted from elsewhere.

“Following his arrest Smith was given two full medicals by mental health professionals to ensure he was fit to be charged. At the time we did receive some criticism from the public on social media that we hadn’t taken his mental health into consideration, but as the court heard Smith was fully assessed and was found not to suffering from a mental disorder and had capacity to weigh up options and make decisions.

“Furthermore he was aware of the consequences of his action as he had caused the closure of the M1 in 2013 when he refused to come down from a bridge over the motorway. Smith was convicted of public nuisance for that offence.”

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