London

Six teenagers charged over fire that closed part of M1

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Media captionThe road was shut between junction 1 at Brent Cross and junction 4 at Elstree, Hertfordshire

Six people have been charged in connection with a fire at a scrapyard that closed a stretch of the M1 motorway in April.

Luke Matthews and Johno Johnson, both 18, have been charged along with two 17-year-old and two 15-year-old boys.

They are among 10 teenagers charged with conspiracy to commit acts of arson across the London borough of Barnet.

The group of 10 has been bailed to appear at Hendon Magistrates' Court on 20 September.

Mr Matthews, of Richmond Court, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, is charged with conspiracy to commit three acts of arson. Mr Johnson, of Millfield Road, Edgware, is charged with conspiracy to commit five acts of arson.

The four boys, who cannot be named, have been charged with conspiracy to commit five acts of arson including the M1 fire.

Four other teenagers have been charged with committing arson elsewhere in the borough between 12 April to 16 April.

Gas cylinders

Damien John McQueen, 18, of Harcourt Avenue, Edgware, is charged with conspiracy to commit two acts of arson.

Hannah Louise Parker, 18, of Symphony Close, Edgware is charged with conspiracy to commit two acts of arson.

A 17-year-old and a 14-year-old from Edgware were also charged with conspiracy to commit arson in the area.

The blaze at a scrapyard under an elevated section of the motorway caused transport chaos in April.

It was days before the motorway was fully reopened as urgent repairs took place.

Many drivers were forced to change their route amid heavy traffic for the FA Cup semi-finals taking place at Wembley Stadium.

The road was shut between junction 1 at Brent Cross, north London, and junction 4 at Elstree, Hertfordshire.

A number of gas cylinders were involved in the blaze. About 50 people living in properties near the scrapyard had to be temporarily evacuated.

Disruption is expected on the affected stretch of the M1 again next week as repairs to the damaged viaduct begin.

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