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Toxic theft – police warn thieves of chemical dangers

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By Charlotte MacKay
Annan and Eskdale
Toxic theft - police warn thieves of chemical dangers

POLICE are warning whoever stole £11k worth of toxic chemicals from a factory in Newbie not to “touch, ingest, or consider supplying them to anyone”.

Officers are investigating the break-in at the MacFarlan Smith pharmaceutical plant in Three Trees Road, also known as the Johnson Matthey factory, which occurred in the early hours of Monday morning.

They say the security of the premises was compromised via the secure perimeter fence at the site.

And a large quantity of a substance used to manufacture chemicals known as ‘pharmaceutical intermediates’, was stolen from a warehouse.

The compound was contained in a brown plastic keg weighing approximately 22 kg.

Now police are warning whoever is responsible for the theft that the material is highly toxic.

Detective Inspector Dean Little yesterday said: “We are currently working closely with staff and security at MacFarlan Smith in order to establish the full circumstances surrounding the break-in.

“CCTV at the site and in private premises surrounding the site is currently being reviewed, and a full door to door enquiry is underway.

“At this stage I would like to highlight to the person responsible for taking this compound to be aware that this is a toxic material and not to touch, ingest or consider supplying the material to anyone else.

“Consumption of the material is likely to result in significant injury.

“I am appealing for anyone who may have been in the area of the site late Sunday night or early Monday morning to get in touch with us if they saw or heard anything suspicious, or have any information which might assist in this enquiry.

“I am keen to recover this material as soon as possible and would appeal to anyone who may know where it is to make contact with police as a matter of urgency.”

Callers can get in touch through the 101 number and should quote the reference number 2212 10/7.

Anyone wishing to pass on information anonymously can use the Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111.


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