Police are warning motorists to be vigilant following a series of road thefts over the last few months.
Criminals are causing tailbacks by stealing whole stretches of carriageway. The stolen roads are then typically sold on to dodgy developers, exported to the Third World or just melted down for scrap.
"These villains have no respect for decent, law-abiding commuters," said Chief Inspector Malcolm 'Cuddles' McGinty. "People trying to get to work suddenly find that the road they usually take is gone. And those that are lucky enough to make it through find that they can't return home because some heartless swine has swiped a T-junction or filched a roundabout."
According to the Superintendent, the problem is getting worse. Thieves are getting bolder and have started taking roads while people are still driving on them. One Bristol man recently found that his journey home was unexpectedly extended when the road he was travelling on was bundled into the back of a van, driven up to Manchester and re-laid as part of a new housing development.
Stolen to order
"Occasionally roads are stolen to order," says Superintendent Cuddles. "But in those cases it's fairly easy to track the culprits down. There are few people, for example, who are in the market for the A19 to Gateshead.
"More often the roads are taken by opportunists who respray them, remove identifying marks such as signposts and the like, and then try to palm them off on some unsuspecting mug. But don't be fooled. Look out for tell-tale signs such as potholes, wonky lines or a non-regulation camber.
"And if it appears that there are already people driving on it, then it's pretty much guaranteed to be dodgy."