Stolen radioactive material returned

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

Radioactive material which was on the back of a stolen ute has been handed in to police today.

The nuclear density meter, which is clearly marked "Class 7 Radioactive", was on a white Ford Courier ute reported stolen from New Brighton in Christchurch on Tuesday.

Police had said the "density and moisture gauge" that uses radioactive material could have put the thieves and the public at risk.

But today, the item was brought in to the Christchurch South police station this morning by a member of the public.

Detective Sergeant Mark Keane said the equipment was intact and appears undamaged.

"We are in the process of contacting the owners of the equipment and notifying other agencies, but the unit does not appear to have been tampered with, and at this stage we do not believe there is any safety risk."

The nuclear density meter, a Troxler model 3440, contains two small radioactive sources.

The amount of radioactive material is relatively small is encapsulated in stainless steel, however authorities were concerned that unauthorised removal of the material may have posed a health and safety concern.

The stolen ute has not yet been located.

Mr Keane said the unit would be fingerprinted and police were continuing enquiries to determine what happened to the ute and the equipment.

Police had spoken to the person who brought the item in to police, but had yet to establish what involvement, if any, that person had in the theft.

- APNZ

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