Elmbridge garage illegally stored cyanide drums removed

Cyanide drums Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption The rusting drums contained 1.5 tonnes of a sodium cyanide mixture which can become explosive when wet

Cyanide drums stored illegally in a garage in Surrey have been removed in an operation lasting two days.

Elmbridge council said the area was placed under 24-hour police guard for five days from when it received the alert to when the hazardous material was safely removed.

The 28 rusting drums were found in a suburban garage in the north of Elmbridge borough, the council said.

They contained a sodium cyanide mixture that can become explosive when wet.

'Significant task'

The council, which has just revealed details of the operation, has not said how the drums were discovered or where they were.

The alert came on 22 October, with the drums removed last Sunday and Monday.

Councillor Glenn Dearlove said the removal of the drums, which contained 1.5 tonnes of chemicals, was "a significant task" because of the number of the containers, the nature of the waste and the age of the drums.

He said there was no threat to residents nearby because the chemicals were in a stable environment, but he said it was imperative they were removed quickly and safely.

The landowner was responsible for the removal and disposal of waste and would meet the cost of the operation, he added.

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