31/08/2012

Officers Injured In Chemical Alert

Eight police officers have been treated in hospital following a drugs raid.

West Midlands Police attended a house in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, at around 12am, in support of officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), who executed a search warrant in relation to illegal drugs.

They forced entry to the premises at around midnight and arrested three men, aged 21, 27 and 34 on suspicion of conspiracy to possess a controlled drug with intent to supply.

Officers also seized a very large quantity of suspected Class A drugs with an approximate street value of around a quarter of a million pounds.

While the arrests were being made, officers were exposed to an unknown substance, which caused ill-effects for both the officers and the people arrested, namely sickness and breathing difficulties.

In total 11 people, consisting of eight police officers and three detainees, were taken to Heartlands Hospital.

All were discharged early this morning and the three detainees remain in police custody, where they are being dealt with by SOCA officers.

Emergency service colleagues from the fire service assessed the scene following the incident and it was established that there was no further risk posed by the substance.

Enquiries are ongoing to establish exactly what the liquid was, although early indications suggest it may have been petrol mixed with an illegal drug, possibly heroin.

Parts of the area are still cordoned off and a number of road restrictions are in place while forensic examinations continue.

The Force’s Incident Manager, Chief Inspector Lee Wharmby, said: "Police officers face threats on a daily basis and, on occasions, criminals will use extreme measures to resist arrest.

"What happened overnight demonstrates the ongoing commitment and bravery of officers as they work to keep our streets safe.

"Events such as this always raise concern in communities, but I want to be clear that this is about drugs alone and not connected to terrorism."

(GK)

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