Two people have been arrested after a stockpile of potentially deadly mustard gas was found concealed in woods in Lincolnshire.

Police declared a major incident when the chemical weapons were found in Roughton Moor Wood, which housed a military base until the 1960s.

Two people digging for bottles in the woods required hospital treatment after discovering the canisters, which released gas leaving them with burns and respiratory problems.

A 38-year-old man from Lincoln, was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a noxious substance on Tuesday and a woman was arrested on Wednesday.

Mustard gas causes blisters and burns on the skin and can kill anyone exposed through damage to the respiratory system and internal organs.

After being used as a weapon in the First World War, it was banned by the 1925 Geneva Protocol, but has been used in recent conflicts including by Isis in Syria.

Lincolnshire Police said the incident in Roughton Moor Wood was not terror-related.

“We are working with other emergency services, military and health partners to ensure the continued safety of anyone who uses the woods and to establish if any further canisters are present,” a spokesperson added.

“We would ask people to avoid the area for the time being.”

The canisters were taken to the Porton Down military science base for analysis, which found that they had been “in situ since when the site was an operational RAF base”.  Continue reading.