POLICE officers closed off a lane to traffic on one of the region’s busiest routes in order to retrieve a suspicious looking item – only to find it was a joke severed hand.

The hand, complete with fake blood and gore, was placed by a prankster on the central reservation of the A19 on Teesside on Wednesday evening.

Officers from Cleveland and Durham’s Road Policing Unit were sent to investigate after a report from an “eagle eyed” driver.

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They briefly closed off a lane to traffic on the A19 northbound between the Portrack and Norton turn offs in order that the item could be recovered.

Police said the hand had looked realistic and, having been fooled, later posted on Facebook that “No doubt comments will be forthcoming!”

Facebook users took full advantage of the hilarious ‘incident’.

Comments included:

  • “Can you make sure you hand it over to the rightful owner?”
  • “The long arm of the law sawed to it”
  • “First hand witness account”
  • “Didn’t catch them red handed”
  • “Will be another one of those terror wrists” 
  • “Told you the handcuffs were too tight”
  • “You have got to hand it to the police for their quick response”
  •  “Were there any forearms officers to deal with it?”