A MAJOR road in Southend was closed during the morning rush hour after a fruit and veg lorry shed its load.

The incident, which happened shortly after 5.30am this morning, sparked a huge clean up operation in Priory Crescent, Southend.

A large amount of fruit and vegetables were left strewn across both sides of the carriageway near the Saxon King pub forcing police to close the road in both directions.

The road closure caused traffic chaos for commuters attempting to travel from one side of the borough to the other yesterday morning.

Charlotte Kirby, a commuter from Southend, said: “I was 40 minutes late for work because we got diverted round Priory Park.

“I had no idea why but wasn’t too impressed when I found out it was because of a load of fruit on the road.

“I thought someone must have been seriously hurt.

“Drivers should be careful to secure their load before they set off - this probably affected hundreds of people trying to get to work or on the school run this morning.”

Ryan Rees-Pritchett added: “I hope this is cleaned up and jet washed down thoroughly to avoid any local wildlife being attracted to it and inevitably being injured or killed by traffic which in turn attracts more wildlife investigating or picking at the dead or helping the injured.”

Beryl Happe, who lives in Hawkwell and was trying to get to Southend yesterday morning, said: “I got caught in it - the traffic was backed up right through Rochford, it really was snail’s pace.

“The van was a real mess from what I could see. It was smashed up as well as full of smashed fruit.”

It is not known if the driver has been reported for any offences.

In July 2016, Priory Crescent was closed for a similar incident after a lorry tipped over and spilled 25 tonnes of onions across the road.

It took more than seven hours to clear the carriageway of onions, recover the lorry and repair the damage to the carriageway.