THREE accidents in the space of 90 minutes brought chaos to the M65 in East Lancashire yesterday.

Police said bad weather appeared to be the main cause caused.

The havoc in the morning rush hour extended to the area’s surrounding roads as drivers tried to get to work.

There was a four-car pile-up, a lorry crash and a three-car shunt in the space of two hours.

The most serious incident involved a woman having to be cut out of her vehicle and placed on to a spinal board after an accident involving two other vehicles.

The incident happened on the westbound carriageway near junction 12 at Nelson around 8.20am.

Firefighters from Nelson used hydraulic cutting equipment to release the woman so she could be treated by paramedics.

She was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital but her injuries were said to be minor.

Another incident happened shortly before 8am when four vehicles collided on the westbound carriageway close to junction 10 at Burnley.

The collision involved a Citroen Xsara Picasso, a Ford Fiesta, a Volkswagen Golf and a Volkswagen Passat all travelling in lane one.

Four people were taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital, two on spinal boards including a 30-year-old man, one with an injury to the shoulder and one with an injury to the hand.

None of the injuries are said to be life threatening, police said.

The motorway lane was closed for more than an hour with motorists stuck in severe tailbacks between Blackburn and Burnley.

A wagon driver carrying a skip also alerted police after a mechanical fault caused him to leave the carriageway just passed junction 10 at Burnley shortly after 6.45am.

The skip had forced the wagon sideways partially blocking lane one of the motorway.

Officers closed the lane to allow for recovery, causing further tailbacks in the area.

Experts at the Met Office predicted more bad weather over the next few days.

A Lancashire police spokesman said: “We received calls about a number of accidents on the motorway network in and around East Lancashire.