THE driver of a van which leaked toxic chemicals into a Sheffield supermarket car park is being hunted by police.
The substance, sodium selenite, is potentially toxic in high concentration.
A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: “Staff at the supermarket tried to clean it up at first but they realised it was potentially harmful and called us.
“The chemical leaked from a white flatbed van parked in the supermarket car park, and then the van drove off.
“We used absorbent granules to clean up the substance, and put it inside large containers, which were sealed up.
“It would have been harmful if you came into contact with it, but it wasn’t a danger to the public at large.”
Brian Holmes, 74, of Oaken Wood, Thorpe Hesley, who was shopping with his wife when the incident happened, said: “We heard there had been a leak and we couldn’t get to the car.
“We went into the cafe for a coffee and then they locked us in the shop for over an hour and then they chucked us out.”
Norah Webster, 77, of Deerlands Avenue, Parson Cross, had a clear view of the incident from her living room window.
She said: “When all the emergency services started turning up, with how many came you knew it was serious. You knew there was something radically wrong.
“Three or four fire engines, two ambulances. I just wondered what had gone off. We have never had anything like that before.
“I am very surprised it’s a toxic chemical. I wouldn’t have thought that toxic chemicals would be anywhere near that place.
“It was a complete surprise, nothing like this has happened before.”
Gary Greaves, 56, of Wordsworth Avenue, Parson Cross, said: “I got a phone call from my wife to say there had been an incident about a chemical leak and she couldn’t get the car out.
Asda had to close its doors to shoppers as emergency services dealt with the chemical spill until around 4pm.
South Yorkshire Police said: “Police are now trying to trace a white flatbed truck that they believe was in the car park a short time before officers were called.
“Officers believe that the truck was carrying barrels that may contain the same chemical that was found in the car park and would like to hear from the driver or anyone who may have seen the vehicle.
“As a precaution, the public is asked not to approach the vehicle if seen but to call 101 quoting incident number 332 of 29 May 2015.”