Hugh collared on side of motorway

Two Highways Agency traffic officers have featured in an episode of Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's TV show River Cottage after they caught the celebrity chef picking apples on a motorway hard shoulder.

Officers Roy Bennett and Neil Townsend from the Chelston Outstation, near Wellington, were on a routine patrol between junction 27 and 26 of the M5 near Tiverton when they spotted a TV crew filming a man picking fruit.

The scene was part of an episode of River Cottage where Mr Fernley-Whittingstall was challenged to make a three-course meal entirely from wild food. Other delicacies on his menu included stewed squirrel.

The officers were quick to point out that it is illegal to park on the hard shoulder in a non-emergency situation and Mr Fernley-Whittingstall apologised and moved his crew on.

Roy said: "To be honest we didn't recognise Hugh at first. We stopped because it was obvious that there were people filming on the hard shoulder and we were concerned for their safety."

Almost 1,000 drivers were caught using the hard shoulder inappropriately in the South West over the last year.

On average, 50 people every year are killed or seriously injured in accidents on the hard shoulder, with the risk of a fatal or serious accident three times higher than when driving on the motorway.

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