Schoolchildren are putting their lives at risk by playing 'chicken' on the M53 near Ellesmere Port.

North West Motorway Police said reports of pedestrians on the motorways can be received up to three times a day across the region when schools are out.

A tweet from the NW Motorway Police said: “We’ve had lots of reports of pedestrians on the motorways today – unfortunately it’s a common problem when the kids are off school.”

The account posted last week that officers had been called out to reports of children playing chicken by running across the motorway on the M53 between Hooton and Ellesmere Port.

And the motorway police have now reiterated the dangers of children and youths playing on and near the busy roads, with a stark reminder that people can be killed.

In 2007 two boys died while attempting to cross the M56 in Runcorn.

Kieran Coupe, seven, and his six-year-old friend Guy Davies were hit by two cars on the busy motorway close to their homes.

In past weeks, reports have included youngsters congregating under and on motorway bridges, throwing missiles from the bridges and generally distracting drivers.

Bernard Keyworth, police staff control room supervisor for North West Motorway Police, said: “During the school holidays we can get two to three reports on a daily basis. They are putting their lives at risk. By the time we have got the report they have usually made their escape.

“It is incredibly dangerous with the high speeds that motorists are going and human reaction times. If going at 70mph you don’t expect to see a pedestrian. There is only going to be one outcome.

“If a pedestrian suddenly appears when they are not expecting it, they have not got a chance.”

Other tweets from the account cite joggers and cyclists taking the motorway route 'deliberately' in order to cut time off their journey.