THIS WEEK IN 1983: Police on red alert for deadly poison

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Portsmouth police were on red alert in a desperate race against time to find a deadly poison – before it killed.

A major hunt was launched to recover a stolen bike which contained half a pound of lethal poison.

The gent’s black Raleigh cycle, belonging to a city council pest control officer, was taken in Angerstein Road, North End.’

In one of the panniers on the rear of the bike was a plastic container holding half a pound of zinc phosphide mixed with oatmeal.

A spokesman for the city’s environmental health department described the substance as an ‘acute poison’ used by pest control officers when other poisons were found ineffective.

He added: ‘It’s like leaving a carving knife on the table. If someone runs away with it, you never know what it’s going to be used for.’