Border Force at Heathrow Airport have seized material contaminated with uranium, with counter-terrorism police now investigating.
Scotland Yard said: “We can confirm officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command were contacted by Border Force colleagues at Heathrow after a very small amount of contaminated material was identified after routine screening within a package incoming to the UK on December 29, 2022.”
Commander Richard Smith said: “I want to reassure the public that the amount of contaminated material was extremely small and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public.
“Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat.
“As the public would expect, however, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of inquiry to ensure this is definitely the case.”
The Commander applauded the “excellent” work done at UK ports and borders in order to keep the public safe.
He added: “However, it does highlight the excellent capability we and our partners have in place to monitor our ports and borders in order to keep the public safe from any potential threats to their safety and security that might be coming to the UK.”
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A source said: “The race is on to trace everyone involved.”
According to the BBC, a possible line of inquiry is whether the material was discovered as a result of “poor handling”.
Another source said the uranium had been detected in a shipment of scrap metal.
The alarm was raised at Heathrow after specialist scanners picked up the substance as it was transported to a freight shed owned by handling firm Swissport.
Its final intended destination is not yet known.
Uranium is an element which exists naturally but can be a threat to humans as it is essential for creating nuclear power once refined or enriched.