Police are investigating after suspected human waste was found in a consignment of drinks cans delivered to a Coca Cola factory in Northern Ireland.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) confirmed it had opened a probe into how faeces came to be in the cans at the Hellenic Bottling Company factory in Lisburn, Co Antrim.
Processing during the night shift was suspended at the plant last week when the machines became clogged.
A PSNI spokesman said: “Detectives are investigating an incident at commercial premises in the Lisburn area following reports that a consignment of containers delivered to the premises had been contaminated. The investigation is at an early stage and there are no further details available at this time.”
A spokesman for Coca Cola said: “We are treating this matter extremely seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation in cooperation with the PSNI.”
A source told the Belfast Telegraph the cans in question, which arrive without lids to be filled with Coca Cola and sealed before sale, had come from Germany.
He said: “It was absolutely horrible and the machines had to be turned off for about 15 hours to be cleaned.
“The rumour is that some poor migrants could have made that long journey in the lorry and that in their desperation were forced to use the cans instead of a toilet.”
A spokesman for the Food Standards Agency said: “The FSA in NI is aware of a physical contamination incident at Coca Cola Hellenic in Lisburn.
“There is no evidence to suggest that any affected product has reached the market.
“The incident is subject to an investigation by the PSNI and the Environmental Health Unit of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council. The FSA in NI cannot comment further in order not to jeopardise that investigation.”