POLICE closed part of the M3 north of Winchester for four hours overnight after contractors brought live power cables crashing down.

Diversions were put in place following the drama near the A303 junction at Micheldever just after 1am.

Police said lighting workmen had been carrying out routine maintenance when the incident happened.

Electricity board engineers raced to the scene but the carriageway remained closed for several hours while they made the area safe.

A Hampshire police spokesman said the motorway was re-opened around 5.15am, in time for the early morning rush-hour.