Police have charged a man in west London after he allegedly injected an unknown substance into food products in three supermarkets in Fulham. Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, is alleged to have contaminated the items using syringes.
The three supermarkets, Little Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express, all on Fulham Palace Road, remain closed as officers from the Metropolitan Police continue to investigate. Shoppers are being advised to bin anything bought after 6.00pm on the evening of Wednesday 25 August from these branches. Customers who suspect they have purchased contaminated items should contact the police via the non-emergency 101 referencing CAD 6341/25AUG.
Leoaai Elghareeb was arrested on the evening of Wednesday 25 August on suspicion of contamination of goods with intention of causing public harm or anxiety. Earlier he had been witnessed shaking and verbally abusing people in the street.
The Met originally believed that only foodstuffs, specifically cooked meats and microwaved meals, had been contaminated, but now believe non-food items have been affected too.
LB Hammersmith & Fulham are working with the Metropolitan Police and Public Health England to examine any risks to the public or staff at the supermarkets. Currently, the council said, these risks are thought to be low.
Police looking to identify the contaminant
Detective Chief Superintendent, Owain Richards, in charge of policing in Hammersmith & Fulham said:
“I acknowledge the public concern around this incident. Investigations are underway to understand what items have been contaminated, but we now know this includes food and non-food items.
“Enquiries are also ongoing to identify what the items have been contaminated with and this is subject to further forensic examination. We would ask people not to speculate until we have these results.
“We have not had further reports of the type of incidents brought to our attention and we are continuing to work on establishing the timeline of this man’s movements and the wider circumstances of these events.”
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