A STRETCH of the M5 was closed for 12 hours yesterday (Wednesday, December 20) after a lorry carrying tonnes of potatoes overturned and blocked all three lanes.

The southbound carriageway was closed to southbound traffic between Cullompton (J28) and Exeter (J29), affecting drivers heading towards Exmouth and Honiton in East Devon.

One person was injured in the incident, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

Exmouth Journal: The overturned lorry in Devon.The overturned lorry in Devon. (Image: National Highways)

A spokesperson said: "Police were called to reports of a single-vehicle road traffic collision involving a lorry on the southbound carriageway of the M5 between just south of junction 28 at around 7.55am on Wednesday, December 20.

"One person is reported to have been injured but the injuries are not thought to be serious at this time."

The ambulance service later confirmed the patient was taken to hospital.

At around 9am, drivers held up were instructed to turn around to be released from the M5 near the back of the queue.

Exmouth Journal: The lorry was carrying 22 tonnes of potatoes when it overturned.The lorry was carrying 22 tonnes of potatoes when it overturned. (Image: National Highways South West)

The road closure was extended to Tiverton (J27) to allow for this.

A total of 22 tonnes of potatoes needed to be removed from the overturned lorry – mainly by hand – before the 'complex recovery' of the vehicle could begin.

A police spokesperson said: “We are rescuing as many as possible for charity!”

The road eventually re-opened 12 hours later at 8.12pm.