'Major incident' declared after poison is stolen from van

2 July 2020, 20:34

A major incident has been declared after chemicals were stolen from a van
A major incident has been declared after chemicals were stolen from a van. Picture: GMP

By Ewan Somerville

A major incident has been declared in Manchester after poison was stolen from a van.

Capsules of Talunex, used to control vermin, were stored along with petrol and fertiliser in a Ford Transit van stolen on 22 June from Elswick Street, Darwen.

The van, registration number ND59 VBE, was found abandoned at 11.45am on Wednesday in Leconfield Drive, Blackley, Greater Manchester - but the Talunex was gone.

The chemical can be “very toxic” if swallowed and emits a gas if it comes into contact with water and acids, police said.

Officers are appealing for anyone who finds any Talunex to call 999 immediately. No casualties or arrests have yet been made.

Supt Rebecca Boyce, of Greater Manchester Police, said "the removal of these hazardous materials from the van" was being treated as a major incident, warning Talunex should only be handled by specialist operators.

"The removal of these hazardous materials from the van is incredibly concerning and that’s reflected by our decision to declare this a major incident,” she said.

"Our rationale for declaring a major incident is that, if handled or stored incorrectly, Talunex poses a very real risk to public health.

Additionally, our investigation and any recovery of Talunex requires multi agency specialists.” She added: "I must stress that Talunex should not be touched, sniffed, eaten or allowed to come in to contact with water.

“If this has happened or happens, please seek medical assistance immediately. Under no circumstances should Talunex be disposed of in general waste or flushed down a toilet or plughole.”

She said a “major investigation” was underway using chemical specialists to locate the Talunex.

The capsules are light grey, pea-sized spheres with a seam around the centre and were last known to be stored in a grey aluminium box.

Dr Matt Pegorie, from Public Health England North West, said possible symptoms of Talunex poisoning include "nausea, vomiting, chest pain, stomach pain, and difficulty in breathing”.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 999 quoting log 943 of 01/07/20 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.