BARREL-LOADS of toxic chemicals have been illegally dumped near a Wearside beauty spot.
Drums containing sodium hypochlorite, piping and other industrial materials were left on Foxcover Road, near Hastings Hill.
The substance, which is an industrial-strength bleach, can cause serious burns if touched.
Fly-tippers left the waste in the middle of the road, which is a popular route for walkers and runners in the area.
It has since been pushed to the side of the road and is being taken away.
The dumped drums have been removed, with the rest of the scene set to be cleared up over the next few days.
The Environment Agency, Northumbria Police and Sunderland City Council are now investigating the incident.
Council bosses have been left shocked by the discovery.
Coun Stuart Porthouse, who represents St Chad’s ward on the council, said: “We need to raise the issue because this is not garden or domestic waste.
“This is industrial or commercial refuse.
“Maybe some members of the public have seen something.
“This is not acceptable and it is just not on.
“This is the first time I’m aware of anything like this being dumped.
“The problem is, and it worries me, is that once it begins we can’t stop it.”
Bill Blackett, area response manager of local services west, at the city council, said: “The council partners will take whatever action we can.
“Sodium hydrochlorite is a particularly corrosive substance.
“We need to keep the public safe from things like this.
“The drums have been removed but there may well be some substances in those pipes too.”
Les Clark, head of street scene at Sunderland City Council, said: “We have worked closely with community safety partners including the Environment Agency and the police to investigate what was illegally dumped, and to make sure the site was safe until the industrial fly-tipping can be removed and disposed off in the correct manner.
“We will continue to monitor the site and the situation, and investigate the source of the fly-tipping so enforcement action and prosecution can be taken against those responsible for what is a criminal offence.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “At 12.55pm on Friday, January 13, police were informed bottles of a chemical had been dumped in Foxcover Lane, East Herrington.
“Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service attended and established the substance was a sodium hypochlorite which was contained.
“The substance has now been cleared.”