Gloucestershire Police have issued a public safety warning in Lydney in the Forest of Dean after chemicals were stolen overnight from a business in Whitecroft between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Police officers arrested an 18-year-old local man at around 2.15pm yesterday on suspicion of burglary in connection to the incident. He currently remains in police custody.
Two 30 litre blue drums containing hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid were stolen. Both have clear labels describing what is inside them.
It is also thought that an unknown quantity of potassium cyanide could also have been stolen but police do not know how this could be packaged. Potassium cyanide looks like white processed sugar.
Police believe the substances may have been discarded in either the Whitecroft or Pillowell areas of Lydney.
The drums containing hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid could give off an unusual smell and police are warning residents not to touch them and to move away from them until the smell disappears.
Police are also warning the public not to touch the potassium cyanide if found and to move at least 30 metres away.
Inspector Rich Boyles said:
"We understand that there will be concern from local residents regarding this warning but we would reassure them that there is currently nothing to suggest that these substances have been left anywhere to intentionally put the public at risk.
We are offering this warning should people in the area find these drums whilst out and about in the area. As long as the containers are not damaged or opened the substances will be contained.
If you do find them do not to touch them and immediately call the police.”
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