A MULTI-VEHICLE shunt caused major rush-hour disruption on the A1(M) in County Durham today.

But, despite the long delays to commuters, there were no major casualties caused as a result of two accidents on the stretch of the motorway between Carrville and Bowburn, junctions 61 and 62, near Durham.

The problems were triggered by a four-car collision on the southbound carriageway shortly after 7am.

Durham Police said it appeared the occupants of the four cars involved escaped with minor injuries.

The damaged vehicles were moved onto the hard shoulder, awaiting recovery, but in the aftermath of that incident a second accident took place as traffic began tailing back on the southbound carriageway.

A force spokesman said a car travelling southbound became, "caught up in some way" at the scene of the initial accident and crossed onto the northbound side of the A1(M), becoming embedded in the wire rope at the central reservation.

The driver of that vehicle was also said to have escaped without injury.

That, in turn, caused knock-on problems for northbound traffic.

Long tailbacks developed in both directions, but causing particular delays for southbound vehicles.

Durham Fire and Rescue Service said up to six vehicles were involved and its crews were involved in making the scene safe.

The road fully reopened later in the morning, but it still took some time for the tailbacks to thin out as normal traffic flow resumed.