THIS WEEK IN 1970: Cyanide threat starts Portchester scare

Two boys were taken to hospital during a two-hour full-scale poison emergency involving fire, police and paramedics after a drum marked '˜Poison Cyanide' crashed from a lorry into a Portchester Road.Â

Peter and Graham Constant, of Cornaway Lane, Portchester, sparked the emergency when playing in the road near their home.

Twelve-year-old Peter said: '˜I saw this blue drum lying in the gutter so I moved it to the pavement. It was badly dented.

'˜As I stood it up, I saw a label saying 'Poison Cyanide'.'

Peter's hands were covered in slime and with his brother, Graham, they ran to their mother to tell her.

Her call to police brought patrol units, paramedics and two fire engines from Fareham. Both boys were taken to the Royal Portsmouth Hospital and householders in Cornaway Lane were told to stay indoors and close all windows. 

The incident was made more serious by the label defining what the drum contained being washed away. But both boys returned from hospital where it was discovered that neither was in danger '“ and the slime was grease from the drum case.