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Giant stink-bomb crosses Channel

A foul-smelling cloud of gas from a chemical factory has spread across parts of northern France and into England, prompting scores of calls to emergency services.

France's Interior Ministry said the gas, mercaptan, is harmless but because of prevailing winds has spread more than 60 miles, into the Paris region. Among other uses, mercaptan is added to municipal gas to alert people of leaks.

The factory in the northern city of Rouen is owned by Lubrizol, a subsidiary of investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

"Bearing in mind the lack of danger, residents of the areas concerned are asked not to call emergency services," the Interior Ministry said.

The smell reached parts of southern England. Police in Hastings reassured residents they had nothing to worry about.

The gas cloud also caused the cancellation of a scheduled French Cup soccer game between Rouen and Marseille.


From Belfast Telegraph