Mystery 'hazardous' substance that caused chaos in Milton Keynes town is identified - and you'll never believe what it was

A ‘hazardous substance’ found spilled on a busy road sparked a massive response from emergency services over the weekend.

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 1st August 2022, 3:14 pm

Around 60 firefighters, 15 fire engines, and numerous police officers were called to Tickford Street in Newport Pagnell just before 10am on Saturday after a quantity of mysterious white powder was spotted on the road.

It was feared the powder could be hazardous if touched or breathed in and the road was closed while tests were carried out to identify what it could be.

Meanwhile, firefighters wore breathing apparatus to hand out ‘derobe packs’ to workers at nearby local businesses.

The road was closed for a few hours

The packs contain instructions showing a safe undressing procedure that minimises the risk of spreading contamination from clothing to exposed skin.

A Bucks Fire and Rescue service DIM (Detection Information and Monitoring) officer was called, along with a Hazmat officer.

The DIM completed a wet test and, along with police intelligence, finally identified the substance.

A fire spokesman said: “It was dry powder from a number of fire extinguishers that had been stolen from local petrol stations.”

He added: “The incident was handed over to Thames Valley Police for investigational purposes.”

At the peak of the incident, fire appliances and crew were in attendance from Newport Pagnell, Broughton, West Ashland supported by appliances from Northamptonshire, Royal Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hertforshire.

It is not yet known whether anyone has been arrested in connection with the fire extinguisher thefts.

The incident caused widespread traffic congestion in Newport Pagnell, where the route through town is already restricted due to work being carried out on the famous Iron Bridge.

Tickford Street was reopened again just after lunch.