Gas cylinders being transported by a lorry exploded this morning, causing the M40 to be shut in both directions at High Wycombe.

The lorry, which was also carrying beds and furniture in addition to the canisters, was completely destroyed by fire.

The motorway was initially closed in both directions between junctions 4, Handy Cross, and 3, Loudwater, while emergency services cleared up the scene - having a knock-on effect on the amount of traffic attempting to travel through High Wycombe.

Although the northbound carriageway was re-opened within the space of a few hours, the southbound section remained shut until well into the afternoon.

Traffic problems were further exacerbated by a collision involving two cars on the same carriageway between junctions 4 and 5, for Stokenchurch, shortly after 10am.

There have been no reports of any injuries during the incident, which happened on the southbound carriageway and was first reported to the emergency services at 5.36am.

Two fire crews from High Wycombe attended, along with one from Marlow and a tanker containing 9,000 litres of water from Princes Risborough fire station. At its height 16 firefighters were at the scene.

One of the original 999 calls to the emergency services came from a Flackwell Heath resident, who reported hearing an explosion.