A MAN has been arrested after a serious crash on the M25 caused chaos on south Essex roads.

Motorists faced long delays yesterday morning as two separate crashes caused gridlock.

The first crash happened just after 5am on the London-bound carriageway of the A13 near the Stifford turn-off in Thurrock.

Police were called after a grey Seat Ibiza had overturned and a man, believed to be in his forties, was taken to West Hill Hospital in Kent suffering from chest pains.

Later, police were called to the M25 in Thurrock following a five-vehicle crash. The incident happened shortly after 7am on the anti-clockwise carriageway between the Dartford Tunnel and junction 31.

Three cars, a Mercedes, an S-Max and a BMW, and two heavy goods vehicles were involved in the collision and four people were injured – two of them seriously.

Two women and two men were taken to hospitals in Basildon, Darenth Valley, Romford and Whitechapel.

A 35-year-old man from Chatham, Kent was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The road was closed for four hours while a police investigation was carried out and the damaged vehicles were removed.

The authorities did suspend tolls at the Dartford Crossing because of the congestion, but barriers remained causing traffic to bottleneck.

Drivers were also caught up in jams as the knock on effect clogged up surrounding roads including the A127. The A130 southbound was also backed up near the Rettendon Turnpike.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said diversions were put in place while police carried out investigations.

He said: “The M25 was closed northbound between junction 31 and 30 just north of the exit for the tunnel. There was a diversion running between the two taking traffic off at junction 31, along the road parallel and back on at junction 30. There was a tremendous amount of traffic congestion.

“There were delays of 90 minutes.”

The road fully reopened at 12.35pm. Any witnesses or anyone with information about events leading up to the M25 crash can contact investigating officer PC Joe Gasparini at the Chigwell road policing office on 101.