Christchurch ute thieves get dangerous load

Thieves who stole a ute carrying radioactive equipment could be putting themselves and members of the public in serious danger, Christchurch police warn.

The white Ford Courier ute, registration WM1511, was reported stolen from New Brighton on Tuesday.

It was clearly marked with the "Class 7 Radioactive" signs.

But it's not the ute that have police worried - it's what's being carried in the back.

Inspector Marc Paynter of Police National Headquarters said the vehicle held a "density and moisture gauge" that uses radioactive material.

The gauge had two small radioactive sources and although the amount of radioactive material was relatively small and was encapsulated in stainless steel, if it was removed by unskilled operators, it would pose a potential public health and safety concern.

"No-one should attempt to operate or disassemble the gauge, due to the adverse health effects if they do," Mr Paynter said.

"We would like to recover the gauge, fully assembled and to ensure there is no risk to the public; I appeal to the person who took the vehicle to do the right thing and let us know exactly where the gauge is so that we can have it collected."

Anyone with any information was urged to contact their nearest police station or the police communication centre.


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