Counter-terrorism police investigate after uranium found in package at Heathrow Airport
Border Force officers at Heathrow seized material contaminated with uranium
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A package contaminated with uranium has been detected in a package that arrived in the UK at Heathrow Airport during a routine screening.
Counter-terror commander Richard Smith said the amount of contaminated material “was extremely small” and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public.
The package reportedly originated from Pakistan and arrived at Terminal 4 on a flight from Oman, according to The Sun, while the BBC said the uranium was in a shipment of scrap metal and one line of inquiry was whether it was the result of “poor handling”.
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.”
The force said the material has been identified as being contaminated with uranium, no arrests have been made and officers are working with partner agencies to investigate and ensure there is no risk to the public.
“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 into the UK,” it said.
Commander Smith added that an investigation is still ongoing but it does not appear that the package is linked to any direct threat.
He said: “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.
“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 into the UK.”
It is understood that the Home Office does not believe there is any threat to the public. A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on live investigations.”
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper tweeted: “Full support to the police and Border Force in their ongoing investigations in this serious case – shows the immensely important work they & intelligence services do on security & keeping country safe.”