Dutch police were forced on Tuesday to explain why one of their number announced that a vital section of motorway would be closed for Britain's "Top Gear" television programme, in what turned out to be an April Fool's joke.

"He acted on his own initiative for April 1," Amsterdam police spokesman Thomas Aling told AFP on Tuesday.

"There was a healthy discussion about his behaviour" with his superiors, he said.

The unidentified policeman announced on the police website on Sunday that a stretch of the A2 motorway between Amsterdam and central city Utrecht would be shut off on Monday morning for "Top Gear".

The hugely popular motoring programme allegedly wanted to try to break the speed record on a public road, driving at over 250 miles per hour (400 kilometres per hour).

The joke warning was removed from the site "within a few hours", Aling said, insisting that traffic on the motorway had not been affected on Monday morning.