A 55-year-old man has received a suspended sentence after causing five hours of disruption on the A12 last year.

Emergency services were called to reports of concerns for a man on a bridge over the A12 between Stanway and Marks Tey, near Colchester, at about 11.15am on Tuesday, October 10. 

Simon Graham, 55, of Hunting Gate, Colchester, had climbed onto the wrong side of the barrier in what he claimed was an act of protest. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The road was shut in both directions for five hoursThe road was shut in both directions for five hours (Image: Vincent Boni)

It was revealed Graham had sent various messages to his friends while on the bridge. 

One text read: "How bad is the traffic in town bud? Sorry for any loss of £££ you may be experiencing because of me.” 

Traffic on the A12 was released just before 5pm after Graham had climbed down from the bridge. 

During a previous hearing, he pleaded guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance and having an article with a blade or point.

At Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday, Graham was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 24 months for intentionally/recklessly causing a public nuisance. 

He was also jailed for four months for having an article with a blade or a point, suspended for 24 months to run concurrently.  

Investigating Officer, Detective Constable Hannah Richardson said: “Simon Graham’s actions had a detrimental effect on one of Essex’s busiest roads.

“A huge part of the case building was to understand the impact that Graham’s offences had on the public.

“We issued a survey to the public, aimed at those stuck in the A12 traffic to understand how they had been affected.

"We received stories from the public including people who had missed hospital appointments, funeral services and people missing out on hundreds of pounds due to being unable to get to work."