Police hunt finds stinking slurry not cannabis

PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 September 2013

Archant

POLICE investigating a great stink blighting large swathes of North Somerset launched a helicopter and on-foot patrols, having mistaken the smell of slurry for cannabis production.

A horrible stench, so bad that people have been reluctant to go outside, has wafted across the district for about 10 days with North Somerset Council, the Environment Agency and Avon and Somerset Constabulary all being contacted about the issue.

The ‘unpleasant smell’ was at one time thought to have been caused by someone growing cannabis but a police hunt on the ground and in the skies found nothing, with a pile of slurry in Sandford held responsible.

The Mercury has received messages about the smell from readers in Weston, Churchill, Yatton, Worle and Sandford.

Mollie Flood complained at the end of August that there was a ‘very odd and unpleasant smell’ in Yatton, which she did not think was caused by a farm.

Her message was quickly followed by Denise Pye in Sandford, who reported the problem to local authorities.

Phil Oakes and his wife were woken one night last week because the smell made them feel ‘physically sick’ and he contacted Thatchers to see whether it was connected to its Ribena blackcurrant production.

But Mike Williamson, chairman of Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council, said the police investigations have shown the questionable aroma was caused by nothing more than rural activity rather than any particular crime.

He said: “It appears it has been noticed by the police who initially thought it may have been someone growing cannabis.

“In addition to touring the whole area looking for the source, they had the police helicopter in the air for some considerable time scanning the whole region and eventually found nothing was untoward.

“They have assured me the smell was indeed just a result of rural activity and which should only last a few days. Apparently they had received reports of this smell from a number of villages in the area and it depended upon which way the wind was blowing, who became the beneficiary on any particular day.

“I hope the offending smell has passed so that we can all once again enjoy the benefits of living in this idyllic rural area, even if we do occasionally have to put up with certain aromas.”

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