FIRE crews from Newton Abbot were among those responding to a suspected terror attack at a Plymstock sorting office yesterday, where an envelope containing a powder, with the word ‘Anthrax’ written across it, had been discovered by postal workers

A fire and rescue service spokesman said: ‘About 7.30am one crew from Newton Abbot alongside the EPU (Environmental Protection Unit) was mobilised as part of a large emergency response to a suspected Anthrax incident in the royal mail sorting office.’

The crew liaised with the police, the ambulance’s Hazardous Area Response team as well as a number of senior fire service officers.

Due to the deadly nature of Anthrax and the unknown origin of the letter, the building was immediately evacuated and a cordon set up.

Crews at Newton used the equipment on the EPU to set up a decontamination area in preparation to clean other crew members.

As part of the response the specialist DIM (Detection, Identification and Monitoring) Team was mobilised from Avon fire and rescue service. This team can take samples of a suspicious substance and test its origin with a high level of precision.

Two members of the DIM team entered the building in disposable suits using breathing apparatus, taking with them a variety of testing equipment.

The powder was found not to be harmful, so there was no need for decontamination.

The spokesman added: ‘Although this incident didn’t involve Anthrax, all emergency crews from all three of the services worked with the upmost professionalism and treated the incident with the respect it deserved.’