Warning issued over dangerous tablets someone stole thinking they were ecstasy pills

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Warning issued over approximately 30 Oxalic tablets stolen during burglary in Camborne, Cornwall.

Vandals broke into the caravan, overnight between March 15 and 16 in Camborne, Cornwall and a white van also had its window smashed. During the burglary 30 white tablets about the size of a 5p piece were stolen alongside a car radio.

But the pills thieves stole contained a corrosive chemical used as an industrial cleaning agent by beekeepers.

img via Devon and Cornwall Police

The risks were so high that workers who used the substance wore protective clothing while handling it, and concerns were raised that the tablets could have been mistaken for recreational drugs and sold to unsuspecting thrill-seekers.

According to detective constable Rebecca Exley-Deane, :

Approximately 30 Oxalic tablets were stolen during the vehicle break in and vandalism. 

Oxalic acid, also known as ethanedioic acid, is used as an industrial cleaning agent and regularly used in beekeeping to help eradicate mites as part of hive maintenance and cleaning.

The corrosive nature and toxicity of the acid means that workers wear full protective gear when working with and handling this chemical.

In its purest form it is highly toxic due to its bleach-like corrosive properties, both when coming in contact with skin or ingested.

The tablets are pure white and are the size and shape and thickness of a five pence piece.

Whilst Oxalic acid is not associated with recreational drug use, we have concerns that the person who stole them, or anyone offered them may mistakenly take them for recreational use and cause themselves severe harm.

If you are offered any tablets you are unsure of please hand them into a pharmacist or your local drugs service.

We are also appealing for witnesses and would like to hear from anyone who can help with our enquiries into the break-in and vandalism on Rosewarne Terrace.”