A lorry caught fire on the M1 motorway in Leicestershire this afternoon (31 October) causing major disruption to traffic in both directions. Dramatic footage of the blaze was posted on Twitter by an eyewitness, showing the heavy goods vehicle almost completely gutted.

Disturbing bangs, similar to fireworks, can be heard on the 30-second clip. A man in an orange high-viz keeps a safe distance, shielded by another vehicle.

The driver managed to escape and no-one was injured by the towering flames, which also spread across the road.

The fire broke out at around 12.30pm on the southbound carriageway between junction 21 and junction 22.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and were able to put out the fire, but Highways Agency staff are still working to make sure that the road is completely safe.

In a statement at 3.30pm, Leicestershire Police urged drivers to avoid the area. The motorway is still closed southbound and heavy queues are still building up in the opposite direction.

There is heavy congestion along large stretches of the M1, thanks to the disruption caused by the fire and planned roadworks in other locations.

Leicestershire police said: "Officers were called to a lorry fire on the southbound carriageway at around 12.30pm. No one was injured in the incident.

"The fire service have put the fire out, and we are working closely with them, recovery agents and the Highways Agency to make sure the area is safe.

"The northbound carriageway between J20 and J21 was closed for a short time, but has since been reopened. Traffic is still queuing so please be careful when driving past the closure on the opposite carriageway.

"We appreciate the frustration, but urge people to avoid the area and find an alternative route if possible."

M1 motorway lorry fire
A lorry caught fire on the M1 in Leicestershire on 31 October Twitter/Sean Taylor