Investigations continue into alleged food contamination with syringes in London

26 August 2021, 20:26

The three supermarkets remain shut
The three supermarkets remain shut. Picture: Alamy Live News

By Daisy Stephens

Police are continuing to investigate after a man was arrested on suspicion of contaminating food at three London supermarkets.

Police said their suspect acted alone, with no evidence he was working as part of a group and no further reports of similar incidents occurring.

Officers in forensic suits were seen in Fulham Palace Road, in west London, on Thursday as three stores - a Tesco Express, Little Waitrose and Sainsbury's Local - remained closed following reports a person was injecting food with needles on Wednesday evening.

Evidence bags marked "caution health hazard" and filled with products including cooked chicken slices were seen on the pavement outside the Tesco store.

Read more: Man held on suspicion of 'contaminating' food with syringes at London supermarkets

Detective Chief Superintendent Owain Richards, in charge of policing the area, said: "Investigations are under way to understand what items have been contaminated, but we now know this includes food and non-food items.

"Enquiries are also ongoing to identify what the items have been contaminated with and this is subject to further forensic examination. We would ask people not to speculate until we have these results."

He added: "I would like to reassure members of the public that the Met is working closely with our partners at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, as well as other authorities, as we pursue all lines of inquiry. This is a multi-agency response and we are also working with the supermarket branches that have been affected.

"We have not had further reports of the type of incidents brought to our attention and we are continuing to work on establishing the timeline of this man's movements and the wider circumstances of these events."

A spokesperson from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: "This is a worrying incident and we're working with the Metropolitan Police and Public Health England to examine any risks to the public or staff at the supermarkets. Currently, these risks are thought to be low."

The council advised shoppers to throw away anything bought from the three shops after 6pm - although police say that if a customer was to find a "foreign object" in any item purchased from these supermarkets, they should keep the item and packaging and call police via 101 quoting reference Cad 6341/25AUG.

The supermarkets are being asked to dispose of food and carry out a deep clean.

Officers were alerted at around 7.40pm on Wednesday after a suspect was reported to be shouting abuse at people in the street.

The man had been taken into custody on suspicion of contamination of goods with the intention of causing public harm or anxiety and an investigation is under way.