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A horse has been shot dead by police after running loose onto the M25.

Essex Police were contacted on 5 August at around 6am following reports of two horses on the road at Thurrock Motorway Services in Grays.

Officers liaised with the Highways Agency and the slip road approaching junction 30 was shut.

The horses were herded off the road while officers tried to locate the owners.

However, one horse broke free and a vet was called to sedate the animal.

Despite being sedated, the horse managed to escape and ran onto the M25.

Police closed the road at junction 30 at around 1.20pm.

The horse was later shot by officers as it couldn’t be caught.

“Despite the best efforts of officers on the scene and the vet, the horse managed to get onto the M25 following sedation, causing the road to be closed,” said an Essex Police spokesman.

“For the safety of motorists and to prevent further suffering to the horse, trained firearms officers shot the animal.”

The road was reopened by 2.15pm, but the incident caused huge delays.

On the M25 clockwise towards the Dartford Crossing, there was approximately 14 miles of slow moving traffic, back towards junction 27.

Anti-clockwise, there were tailbacks of around nine miles.

The traffic was exacerbated by a crash by the Gravesend West turn off.


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The public took to Twitter following the incident.

“Shooting the horse is unacceptable, surely sedated at worst outcome?,” said Caroline Tait.

J Pizzle tweeted: “How can a horse hold me up for nearly two hours.. how are the other two lanes moving?”

And Paul Palmer said: “Call me a cynic but horse on loose for over nine hours causing this much chaos — I don’t think so.”