Radioactive canister stolen from van in Lancashire

A canister of radioactive material has been stolen from the back of a van, Lancashire Police said.

The "small amount" of material, believed to be Iridium 192, is not considered dangerous if it remains contained in its heavy lead container.

The yellow canister was taken over the weekend from a Peugeot Panel Van parked in New Line, Bacup.

Anyone who has come into contact with the material is urged to seek medical assistance.

Ch Insp Russ Procter said: "It is important that this material is located as soon as possible.

Health alert

"I would ask the public, especially in the Rossendale area, to keep an eye out for this canister and if they locate it then to call the police who will come and deal with it.

"I would also appeal directly to the people who have stolen this. They may have no idea what it is that they have in their possession or they may have discarded it somewhere.

"If that is the case then I would ask them to contact us or call Crimestoppers anonymously."

Police have not said what the purpose of the material was.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) urged anyone coming into contact with the cylinder to leave it where it is and alert the police.

A spokesman said: "The radioactive material, believed to be Iridium 192, will not pose a risk to the public if it remains contained in its heavy lead container marked with the radiation trefoil.

"However, if the material is outside of its protection packaging, anyone who has come into prolonged physical contact, such as keeping it in a pocket, should seek medical assistance."

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