News: Three in court after mustard gas found in woods near Woodhall Spa

News: Three in court after mustard gas found in woods near Woodhall Spa

Another Lincolnshire Highlights news story…

Three people have appeared in court accused of possessing mustard gas and dumping the chemical weapon in a lake near Woodhall Spa.

Two people were treated for burns after the discovery of the substance in woods near the resort on October 1, 2017.

A man and a woman from Lincoln, and a Woodhall Spa man, were initially arrested on suspicion of possession of a noxious substance and released under investigation.

In the aftermath of the incident, two properties were searched in Lincoln and Woodhall Spa.

Specialists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, at Porton Down, the Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy and Army bomb disposal units were called in to remove 150 canisters from Roughton Moor Woods and Stixwould Lake.

The woods were cordoned off until May last year and the cost of the clean up was said to be about £100,000.

 

Now, three defendants have appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, August 15.

Martyn Tasker , 39, of Longdales Road, Lincoln, is accused of possession of a Bren machine gun “so designed or adapted that two or more missiles could be successively discharged without repeated pressure on the trigger” on October 4, 2017.

He is also accused of possessing canisters of liquid sulphur mustard, commonly known as mustard gas, between September 27 and October 1, 2017.

And he faces a further allegation that on September 30, 2017, he discharged canisters of mustard gas into the water at Stixwould Lake.

(Image: Royal Navy)

Michaela Tasker , 31, of Longdales Road, Lincoln has also been summoned to appear for possessing mustard gas and dumping canisters of the gas into Stixwould Lake on the same dates.

 

    Stuart Holmes , 50, of Witham Road, Woodhall Spa, is accused of the possession of mustard gas at Roughton Woods, Woodhall Spa on September 30, 2017.

    He also faces an allegation that he kept or disposed of mustard gas “in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health” between September 28 and October 1, 2017, and of the alleged possession of the gas canisters between those dates.

    And he is accused of discharging canisters containing Mustard gas into Stixwould Lake on September 30, 2017.

    The woodland where mustard gas canisters were found.
    (Image: East Lindsey District Council)

    They spoke only to confirm their names, ages and addresses. No pleas were entered and the accused were granted unconditional bail.

    The Taskers were represented in court by solicitor Neil Sands and lawyer Beris Brickles acted for Holmes.

    Gurjit Bdesha was prosecuting. Magistrates sent the cases to Lincoln Crown Court on September 12.

    Poison gas was used to devastating effect by both sides during the First World War, resulting in 1.3m casualties.

    Mustard gas causes temporary blindness, breathing problems, and stomach upset.

    The use of chemical and poison weapons was banned under the 1925 Geneva Protocol but production and storage was never outlawed.

    It is said that Britain had planned to use such weapons against the Nazis had they invaded these shores, and that RAF Woodhall Spa would have dropped chemical weapons on Berlin had the Germans dropped gas bombs on London.

     



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