Four people affected by pepper spray

FIRE crews in Essex have been called to Southend General Hospital following reports that four people have been affected by pepper spray.

FIRE crews in Essex have been called to Southend General Hospital following reports that four people have been affected by pepper spray.

It is believed a man was sprayed in the face by pepper spray and then taken to hospital where he came into contact with more people who then began to show symptoms of irritation.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's mass decontamination unit was sent to the hospital today as initial reports indicated that eight people had been affected by an unknown substance. However it was turned back once the substance was identified.

Southend's Accident and Emergency unit was closed while the incident was dealt with and casualties were diverted to Basildon Hospital.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Police were called by the ambulance service at 5.30am after a man had been sprayed with a noxious substance. He was taken to Southend General Hospital.

“There were a small number of people who came into contact with him and have been presented with minor symptoms of irritation. “We are looking at the possibility that this man was assaulted.

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“Enquiries are ongoing.”

Divisional Officer at ECFRS Julian Ashley said: “We wound down operations as soon as it became obvious about the scale of the incident, that the hospital resources were able to deal with it and there was not likely to be any escalation of the number of casualties affected.”

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