A man who forced police to close the M25 for more than five hours when he refused to come down from a bridge over the country’s busiest motorway has been given a suspended sentence.

Dayle Smith, aged 30, of Bingham Close in Hemel Hempstead, was charged with causing a public nuisance following the incident on a bridge in Shenley Lane, London Colney at 4pm on July 31.

Specially trained police negotiators managed to get him back to safety and he was arrested.

Hundreds of motorists were stuck in their vehicles for a number of hours during peak traffic times and the motorway closure also caused congestion on surrounding routes.

Highways England has estimated the closure of the M25 and the delays that followed cost in excess of £1.8m.

Following his arrest, Smith was initially taken to hospital for an urgent full medical assessment by independent health professionals who deemed that he was not suffering with a mental health illness.

While in custody he was again assessed by mental health professionals who also deemed that he was not suffering from any mental health illness at that time.

Following advice from the CPS it was deemed appropriate for Smith to be charged with causing a public nuisance. He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was remanded in custody.

At St Albans Crown Court today (Friday), Smith was sentenced to 12 months reduced to eight months (for time served while on remand) suspended for 15 months.

He was also made subject to a six month Drug Rehabilitation Order, must complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity and complete 140 hours of unpaid work.

Following the sentencing hearing, former St Albans Chief Inspector Stuart Cheek, said: “This was a hugely resource intensive incident, which saw officers from various units across the county pulled away from their usual duties.

“At the time we did receive some criticism from the public on social media that we hadn’t taken his mental health into consideration but as the court heard, Smith was fully assessed and was found not to suffering from a mental disorder.

“Furthermore he was aware of the consequences of his action as he had caused the closure of the M1 in 2013 when he refused to come down from a bridge over the motorway. Smith was convicted of public nuisance for that offence.”