Lincolnshire

Woodhall Spa mustard gas trio plead guilty

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Stuart Holmes (L), Michaela Tasker and Martyn Tasker will be sentenced later

Three people have pleaded guilty to illegally possessing mustard gas canisters.

About 150 canisters of the noxious substance were unearthed in and around Roughton Woods, near Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, in October 2017.

Martyn Tasker, Michaela Tasker and Stuart Holmes also admitted breaching environmental laws by the discharge of mustard gas in Stixwould Lake.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the clean-up operation cost almost £300,000.

Police declared a major incident after the canisters were first discovered on the former World War Two military base at Roughton Woods.

Specialists from Porton Down were brought in by the Ministry of Defence and the area was sealed off for a fortnight.

Holmes also admitted disposing of mustard gas in a manner likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to public health.

Image copyright Lincolnshire Police
Image caption About 150 mustard gas canisters were found in woodland and in a lake near Woodhall Spa

Martyn Tasker, 40, of Longdales Road, Lincoln, denied two charges of possession of a Bren light machine gun and a further charge of possession of 10 rounds of ammunition without a firearms certificate.

He is to face trial on those charges next year.

Judge John Pini QC ordered pre-sentence reports to be prepared on Michaela Tasker, 31, also of Longdales Road, and Holmes 50, of Witham Road, Woodhall Spa.

They are be sentenced along with Mr Tasker following the conclusion of his trial for the alleged firearms offences.

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