A controlled explosion has been carried out after an suspected explosive device was found at a garage off the A19 north of Billingham, police have confirmed.

The main route was closed for several hours and motorists were caught up in lengthy huge queues and delays.

Police said shortly after 4pm on Wednesday (April 3) that a suspected explosive device had been “taken to a garage” off the A19 and bomb squad officers were on the scene.

The Northern Echo: Bomb disposal officers at the scene.Bomb disposal officers at the scene. (Image: INCIDENTS ON TEESSIDE/FB)

EOD officers were pictured working with a robot at the Ron Perry services between the A179 at Sheraton and A689 at Wolviston.

The road was closed in both directions while the device was dealt with.

The Northern Echo: Police closed the road in both directions.Police closed the road in both directions. (Image: INCIDENTS ON TEESSIDE/FB)

Cleveland Police confirmed shortly after 7pm that a controlled explosion had been carried out to destroy the device.

A spokesperson said: “The device was disposed of in a controlled explosion on nearby farmland.

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“The A19, which was closed around the Hartlepool area while EOD colleagues dealt with an explosive device, has re-opened. Thanks to all motorists and other emergency services/partners for your support.”

Fire crews were also at the scene amid reports of the area including the nearby Ok Diner being evacuated.

Motorists reported major delays in the area with traffic queueing back for miles and congestion on nearby routes as they were told to avoid the A19.