POLICE feared they were dealing with a grisly murder after getting called out to a bin that was dripping blood and “stinking of death”.
But after sealing off the area, calling in CID officers, and eventually hauling the bin away by lorry – it was discovered to be rotting chicken.
Officers in Edinburgh raced to the city’s Comiston Road on Tuesday after concerned residents noticed blood dripping out of a large black bin.
The reek of rotting flesh also filled the street, permeating a nearby school and attracting swarms of flies.
Police could not open the lid of the commercial-sized bin to get a look so they had to summon a lorry to take it back to HQ.
Only then was it discovered the decomposing corpse was more fowl than the result of foul play.
Professor Paul Boyd, who works at the nearby Morningside School of Music, said people had started noticing the smell on Monday but it was only later that it became unbearable.
“We could smell it inside the school building,” he said. “There were flies everywhere and we went over for a closer inspection and there was what appeared to be blood dripping out of the bin.
“How so much blood could come out of one chicken I don’t know.
He added: “Before we got the chance to call it in, the police were there. You err on the side of caution but one side of you is thinking ‘Could someone have been shoved in there?’
“There was blood running into the gutters. Police wearing blue gloves did try to go into the bin but it would only open so far.
“I take my hat off to them. God knows how they did it without passing out.
“The police told me ‘We don’t know what’s in there and we are going to have to take the bin away in case it is something sinister.”
The stench was so strong it was possible to smell it from 100 metres away, according to residents.
City-born Glenn Chandler, who penned the award-winning Taggart TV series, said: “Taggart would have said ‘If this had happened in Glasgow the police would check inside the bin but Edinburgh coppers don’t want to soil their lily-white hands’.”
He added: “This reminds me of a real case when a pathologist took a charred arm back to his laboratory only to realise it was a French loaf.”
However Ian Rankin, creator of the famous Edinburgh detective John Rebus, was quick to defend the force.
“Rotting flesh smells like rotting flesh,” he said. “Wise to call it in;wise of police to deal with it.”
The administrator of ‘Comiston in Morningside’ – a Facebook page which shares local news in the area – said that people couldn’t get within ten feet of the bin without wanting to vomit.
He said: “Honestly, the smell was the worst I have ever smelled in my whole life. The police did have a quick nosey in the bin, but didn’t want to start taking things out in the street in case there was a corpse, and then they would have damaged vital evidence.
“They were very professional officers and I had a good chat with them. Good guys with stomachs of steel for looking in that bin.”
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We received a call at around 2:15pm on Tuesday 12 July reporting concerns over the contents of a bin on Comiston Road.
“Officers attended and established the contents were chicken meat.”