Passport thought to contain 'potentially hazardous material' sparks evacuation at Durham City Passport Office

Emergency services were called to the Passport Office in Durham City on the evening of Monday, July 22.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 5:51 pm
Emergency services were called to the Passport Office

The HM Passport Office in Durham was evacuated late last night after a passport containing an unknown material was delivered to the office.

Two women who had come into contact with the passport were checked over by paramedics as a precaution.

No one was injured during the incident.

A spokesman for North East Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 9.27pm last night to the HM Passport Office to reports of staff being exposed to an unknown substance.

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“We sent three crews from our Hazardous Area Response Team.

“As a precaution the building was evacuated and two women who were in contact with the substance were checked over by our crews.

“The substance was tested and later found to be non-hazardous.”

Experts from the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service analysed and tested the passport.

It was concluded that there was no cause for concern.

Pictures circulating on social media show an incident response unit, alongside police and fire service personnel at the scene at Freeman’s Place, in Durham.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “We were called at 9.20pm last night (July 22) after a passport was delivered to the Passport Office in Durham City containing what was thought to be potentially hazardous material.

“Experts from the fire service also attended who analysed and tested the passport and concluded there was no cause for concern.

“The incident was brought to a close shortly after 1am this morning.”