Lethal chemicals stolen in raid on firm

Chemical hazard
Chemical hazard

Chemicals including cyanide and sulphuric acid were stolen from a Woodford Halse metal processing firm at the weekend.

The chemicals, which are kept in large glass bottles with rubber stoppers, also included hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and thallium. They were taken at some point on Sunday night.

The firm targeted is believed to be a company specialising in the extraction of precious metals from waste, disposing of hazardous wastes and decontaminate hardware for re-use for a variety of commercial sources.

An X-ray machine was also taken from the chemical processing site during the burglary.

Residents have been warned to be on the look out for the chemicals, which are mostly clear and stored in glass, litre-sized bottles.

They are labelled as hazardous, and marked with the relevant chemical symbols.

The toxicity of cyanide is widely know, and a very small amount is enough to kill someone.

Thallium is a highly poisonous metal and simply touching it can be enough to absorb a dangerous level of it.

Police would like to speak to anyone who may have been in the Great Central Way area of Woodford Halse on Sunday night or the early hours of Monday morning and saw any suspicious activity.

Detective Inspector Phil Mills, from CID, said: “We believe these chemicals have been taken by organised criminals who want to use them in the same way the business they were stolen from uses them, to process metals.

“However, these are extremely dangerous chemicals, especially when mixed together, and should only be used by experienced people who have had the relevant training.

“If anyone has seen these bottles, or knows where they are, I would urge them to not touch them, but to call us or the fire service to ensure they are removed correctly. If people do not want to report to the police they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously to pass on the location of the bottles.”

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the chemicals or has any information about the burglary is asked to contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.