Navy divers help police deal with decades-old chemical weapons in Lincolnshire

Royal Navy divers have spent eight days working to recover dangerous chemical weapons after canisters containing mustard gas were found by the public in Lincolnshire.

A seven-strong team of specialists from Southern Diving Unit 2 in Portsmouth used sonar to map Stixwould Lake, southeast of Lincoln.

Divers had to wear chemical suits before attempting to recover ten 6lb chemical bombs. They spent more than three hours scouring the lake bed.

The recovered bombs were handed over to Lincolnshire Police, who are investigating their origin. 

RAF Woodhall Spa used to be located on the site of the lake, it was a World War Two bomber base.

Two people suffered minor burns and had to be treated in hospital following the discovery of canisters containing the gas on 1st October.

Navy divers help police deal with decades-old chemical weapons in Lincolnshire

 Petty Officer (Diver) 'Chuck' Norris said: "It was a bit of a mission."

"With reports of other people suffering from mustard agent poisoning, full bio-hazard precautions were taken - diving in a chemical environment wearing cumbersome personal protection equipment, then undergoing full decontamination at every stage.

"The bombs themselves were British and well over 70 years old - the UK no longer uses chemical or biological weapons."

Navy divers help police deal with decades-old chemical weapons in Lincolnshire

Mustard gas causes severe irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs of those exposed and was used during the First World War. 

Police believe the containers have been at the site since the time it was an operational military base.

Officers said there is not thought to be any risk to the public, but advice remains not to go near areas with a police presence.

Chemical warfare was outlawed by the Geneva Convention in 1925, but Britain stockpiled the weapons such as mustard gas up to the end of World War Two.

Navy divers help police deal with decades-old chemical weapons in Lincolnshire

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