Teenagers deny causing M1 blaze

Six teenagers have denied a string of arson attacks including one which closed a motorway for nearly a week.

The huge blaze swept through a scrapyard under an elevated section of the M1, causing transport chaos androute-planner nightmares for several days in April last year.

The defendants, who denied all charges at Wood Green Crown Court, are among 10 teenagers charged with a "spree" of arson attacks over a five-day period across Barnet, north London.

Prosecutor James Brown said the arsons involved a "core group" of five - one of whom was aged just 14 at the time.

He told jurors: "I dare say that you wouldn't have heard of most of these offences, but you may well have heard of one. It caused such an intensive fire that it actually damaged the motorway above. As a result the motorway was closed for nearly a week."

The six defendants all pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiring to destroy by fire the scrapyard, intending to destroy such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed.

They are Luke Matthews, 18, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire; Johno Johnson, 18, of West Hendon, north London; Josh Lambe, 18, of Edgware, north London; plus a 17-year-old and two 15-year-olds who cannot be named due to their ages.

Copyright Press Association 2012