Dangerous gas canisters cleared from Hatfield lay-by

A FLY-TIP that could have had devastating consequences for passing motorists and walkers has been cleared.

More than 500 gas cylinders were removed from the back of an abandoned lorry container in an exercise involving the police, the fire service, Welwyn Hatfield Council and Herts Highways.

The container, which also carried 100 old tyres, had been ditched in a lay-by near the Holwell caravan site off the A414.

An old mobile home, described as being in a “very poor condition” had also been jettisoned at the site.

Road closures were put in place and a specialist company from Dartford in Kent attended to take away the potentially dangerous gas cylinders.

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Speaking after the conclusion of the operation, firefighter Paul MacDonald said: “Gas cylinders can be extremely dangerous if they’re not stored and handled in the right way.

“Fortunately, working alongside the police and Hertfordshire Highways, we were able to arrange for them to be safely removed without causing any harm to the public, but I would like to highlight the seriousness of this and the potential danger that the fly-tippers posed to the public.

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“The fly-tipping of these cylinders could have had devastating consequences.”

Pc Ross Freeman, from the Hatfield safer neighbourhood team, said: “Fly-tipping is a massive problem but this is the largest, most blatant and certainly the most dangerous example I have seen.

“A person or group of people has deliberately abandoned dangerous cylinders, which are potentially explosive and in the wrong hands, like young people playing, could result in serious injuries.”

Pc Freeman added: “To protect the safety of members of the public, including the young and vulnerable, we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Not only is it extremely dangerous, an operation of this scale involving road closures is very costly.”

Call police on 0845 33 00 222 if you have any information about fly-tipping.

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