Gloucestershire police have issued a public safety warning to the Forest of Dean residents after chemicals were stolen from a local business.

A 30 litre blue drum of hydrochloric acid and the same size drum of sulphuric acid have been confirmed as stolen from Whitecroft in Lydney.

It is also thought that an unknown amount of potassium cyanide may have been stolen, but this isn’t confirmed at this stage, however residents have been told what to look out for and that they should stay 30 metres away from it.

Inspector for the area, Rich Boyles, said: “We understand that there will be concern from local residents regarding this warning but we would reassure them that there is currently nothing to suggest that these substances have been left anywhere to intentionally put the public at risk.

The local police have been searching Whitecroft and Pillowell in Lydney where they think it may have been dumped and have recovered some of the contents, but are continuing their search.

Inspector Boyles said: “We are offering this warning should people in the area find these drums whilst out and about in the area. As long as the containers are not damaged or opened the substances will be contained.

“If you do find them do not to touch them and immediately call the police.”

Residents have been advised that the chemicals have a very distinct scent and should not go near them until the smell passes.

Police have arrested an 18-year-old local man on suspicion of burglary in relation to the incident that occurred overnight between September 12-13 and he currently remains in custody.