Crimestoppers offers £10,000 reward for information leading to return of hazardous chemicals stolen from company
Charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 following the theft of hazardous chemicals from a chemical company.
Thieves stole 10 sealed blue drums with approximately 60 kilos of powder containing metal oxides from an internal building on a company’s site in Billingham.
When correctly stored in sealed pouches or vials and within drums, as it was at the company’s site, there is no risk of exposure.
However, chemical professionals have advised that the powder itself is harmful if a person is exposed to it by skin contact, inhalation or ingestion.
If a person is exposed to significant quantities, it is potentially fatal, so we would advise the public not to touch them.
Should members of the public come into contact with this powder, the advice is to flush skin immediately with plenty of water, seek medical attention and inform Cleveland Police immediately.
A reward of up to £10,000 is available for information received by Crimestoppers leading to the return of the materials or the conviction of those responsible.
One drum contained 30ml sealed vials filled with black powder and the rest had individual 2 kg vacuum sealed foil pouches with the same black powder.
The containers were clearly labelled with the hazards and the company’s internal batch codes.
The investigating team are keen to trace a white transit type van with a non-functioning brake light on its driver’s side seen on CCTV footage next to the site of the break in.
The theft took place between 9pm on Sunday, February 10, and 2am on Monday, February 11.
Fiona McCormack, director of operations for Crimestoppers charity, said: “This theft of toxic chemical is incredibly irresponsible and could put people’s lives in danger.
"We are keen to hear from anyone who may know where the stolen chemicals are currently stored or have information on the people involved..
“Everyone who contacts our charity stays 100% anonymous. Always. Even from us.
"When you call our UK Contact Centre on 0800 555 111 or use our anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org your information could make the difference and keep someone safe.”