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Man arrested over suspicious package sent to UK vaccine plant

Investigators say there is no evidence of ongoing threat

Police forensic officers at the Wockhardt pharmaceutical plant after a suspicious package was found. Reuters 
Police forensic officers at the Wockhardt pharmaceutical plant after a suspicious package was found. Reuters 

Police in the UK have arrested a man over a suspicious package sent to a factory where doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are manufactured.

The bomb squad was called to the Wockhardt UK plant in Wrexham, north Wales, shortly before noon on Wednesday.

The factory was evacuated while police investigated the package.

Police said on Thursday there was no ongoing risk to the public after the arrest of the man from Chatham, in southern England, on Thursday morning.

They raided two properties in Kent ahead of the arrest.

"A 53-year-old man from Chatham has been arrested on suspicion of sending the packages and remains in custody as enquiries continue," a police statement said.

"There is no evidence to suggest there is an ongoing threat."

Police said on Wednesday the package had been made safe and its contents would be "taken away for analysis".

Wockhardt UK said staff had been allowed to return by the afternoon and its production schedule had not been affected.

The Wrexham plant is used to fill vials of the vaccine before it is packed and distributed.

Ian Hunter, a technician at the site which was visited by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in December, told the Daily Post newspaper they initially thought the police presence was due to a visiting dignitary.

“We were loading up the wagons when the police arrived and set up a cordon," Mr Hunter said. "Initially we thought it might be a visiting dignitary following Boris Johnson’s visit just before Christmas. But then the bomb squad arrived and the police widened the cordon to a much bigger area."

Updated: January 28, 2021 07:05 PM

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