The M62 was plunged into chaos last night following the removal of nearly 500 cat’s eyes from the motorway at Junction 20 by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

Shortly before nightfall at least eight hooded and masked activists were spotted by traffic cameras using crowbars and pickaxes to pry the reflective safety devices from the road surface. Two more dungaree-clad individuals were narrowly missed by speeding vehicles as they attempted to stop traffic while holding a banner which read “Blind Injustice”.

Police arrived at the scene within minutes, but the fanatical moral crusaders evaded capture, displaying a surprising turn of speed for a mob of undernourished tofu gobblers.

Detective Chief Inspector Boyson Blue of the Greater Manchester Police told The Herald “We are searching for a number of people in connection with an act of mindless vandalism committed on the Rochdale exit of the M62. Pursuing officers narrowly missed apprehending one suspect, a heavily-built female, after a canine unit picked up a strong smell of garlic on the embankment on the northbound A627M  but she apparently dropped a crowbar before pepper-spraying the pursuing dogs and jumping into a waiting VW Camper.”

“Police Interceptors were unable to engage in pursuit due to the absence of clear lane markings.”

Removals driver Jimmy DeLocke required medical attention after swerving to avoid a young man he described as “a scruffy-looking, complete and utter fucking nob”. He apparently became disorientated on the unmarked carriageway and wiped out a cete of wandering badgers before ploughing into the back of a horse box carrying two rare breed heavy horses. The animals were later humanely destroyed.

The incident is the latest in a series attributed to the extremist soap-dodgers. In February they chained themselves to streetlights at the dogleg junction on Mason Street and two weeks later several zebra crossings were severely damaged when the top six inches of tarmac were removed and relocated to Denehurst Park. The ALF have denied liberating a horse from it’s paddock in Norden in December 2016..

Disruption is expected to continue until Friday at the earliest as maintenance crews replace the cat’s eyes.