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Milk scare at 'tampering' hospital

A bottle of milk may have been contaminated with bleach at a hospital where police are investigating deaths linked to tampering of saline solution.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said officers were alerted by staff on Saturday to new allegations of tampering at Stepping Hill hospital, Greater Manchester. No-one was harmed as a result of the milk incident.

A spokesman said: "GMP are now investigating this incident but there is nothing at this stage to suggest this is in any way linked to the wider police inquiry currently ongoing at the hospital.

"Stepping Hill is made up of a large community of people and it is unlikely that every incident reported is connected to the concerted and deliberate criminality already being investigated."

It is understood a small amount of the tainted milk was consumed by a patient after it was given by a member of staff. The patient was not harmed and police were called soon after. It has not been confirmed if the milk was given as a drink or with tea, coffee or breakfast cereal.

A spokesman for Stepping Hill Hospital said: "We can confirm that an incident relating to the possible contamination of a small quantity of milk took place. The police have been informed and the hospital is helping them with their inquiries.

"There is nothing at this stage to suggest this is in any way linked to the wider police inquiry currently ongoing at the hospital. There was no lasting effect for the one patient who tasted a very small amount."

Meanwhile, detectives investigating the tampering of saline solution at Stepping Hill Hospital said that four additional deaths referred to them have now been ruled out of their inquiries.

The cases were passed on to them by the coroner when it was announced that all charges in connection with the inquiry had been dropped against nurse Rebecca Leighton.

However, Greater Manchester Police said they are continuing to look at the suspicious deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Alfred Derek Weaver, 83.

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