A HAMPSHIRE teenager is due to appear in court today, charged with arson with intent to endanger life after objects were thrown from a motorway bridge, causing a day of chaos on the M3.

The 17-year-old boy, from Winchester, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is due to enter a plea at Winchester Crown Court to two counts of arson with intent to endanger life and two of causing danger to road users in relation to the incidents on the M3 on September 16 and 23.

Hampshire Police said a potentially hazardous substance was thrown from a motorway bridge near Winchester on September 23, resulting in the the M3 closing between junctions 9 and 11 from just before 4am until after 3pm. A similar incident took place the week before.

The defendant is also accused of carrying out eight offences of burglary against a school during which computer equipment of an unknown value was stolen.

He is also accused of two charges of blackmail with menaces against the same school each demanding payment of £10,000 in the online currency bitcoin.

The defendant faces two further charges of theft of miscellaneous items from a Tesco supermarket on the days preceding the two motorway incidents.

Social media users shared pictures of the travel chaos on the day, with one showing a man walking his dog on the hard shoulder, others playing golf, and another doing a handstand in the carriageway.