POLICE have closed the M6 in both directions between Sandbach and Middlewich after a serious crash this morning, Thursday.

The carriageway was shut in both directions between junctions 17 and 18 near Sandbach after the pile-up, which took place around 9am.

Emergency crews have been sent to the scene and motorists have been urged to avoid the area.

Cheshire Fire said five people were trapped in their vehicles.

"Firefighters are currently in attendance at a road traffic collision involving five vehicles on the M6, northbound between junction 17 and 18," a spokesperson said.

"Five people are medically trapped and all three lanes of the motorway are closed so motorists are advised to avoid the area."

The incident happened on the northbound carriageway but the southbound carriageway has been shut so the air ambulance can land.

At 10.30am, Cheshire Fire updated the incident and said two people had been released from their vehicles. 

"Two casualties have now been released by firefighters and handed into the care of paramedics," a spokesperson added.

"Two more are in the process of being released. Air Ambulance is in attendance and the motorway is closed in both directions."