Police station evacuated after cyanide scare in Perth

A 200mg dose of the substance is fatal to humans. Credit:Morienus

A SCOTS police station was evacuated last night after a woman wandered in with a jar of the notorious suicide chemical potassium cyanide.

The woman discovered the jar as she cleared out her parents’ home and decided to take it to Blairgowrie police station, near Perth.

Officers immediately cleared the building and firefighters wearing “hazmat” suits raced to the scene from three stations, including Dundee.

Close examination of the jar, which is believed to date back to the 1920s or 30s, showed that it was not leaking deadly fumes.

Potassium cyanide was used by leading Nazis to escape the hangman’s noose and the chemical has also been used in mass suicides.

Tayside Fire and Rescue said today the area of the station had been sealed off.

Spokesman Kevin Lennon said: “They were tidying up the house and came upon the jar of a chemical.

“They were not sure what to do with it and had it taken to the police.

“Fortunately firefighters found the jar was not found to be leaking, and there was no danger of the cyanide contaminating the station.”

Potassium cyanide has a similar appearance to sugar, though is highly toxic.

Just a fifth of a gram of the substance is enough to cause death by starving the brain of oxygen. A person who has ingested it loses consciousness and may experience convulsions.

Its official use is in gold mining and electro-plating.

But the chemical was infamously used in the suicide of Nazis Hermann Goering and Heirich Himmler to escape justice at the Nuremberg trials.

It is a moist solid and emits small amounts of liquid hydrogen cyanide, also a deadly substance.

Hydrogen cyanide is said to smell like bitter almonds though the ability to detect its odour is a genetic trait.

Potassium cyanide was used in the suicide of British computer pioneer Alan Turing in the 1950s.

It is thought he injected an apple with the substance before eating it, as a half-eaten apple was found beside him.