Thief takes radioactive device with ute

Last updated 20:16 20/07/2012
A radioactive gauge similar to the one in the stolen ute, but the stolen one is newer and in better condition.
LIKE THIS: A radioactive gauge similar to the one in the stolen ute, but the stolen one is newer and in better condition.

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A ute with potentially dangerous radioactive material is missing in Christchurch.

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

However, it was not the ute which was of major concern to police, but what was what was in the back.

The ute, clearly placarded with "Class 7 Radioactive" signs was carrying a nuclear density meter . The meter had two small radioactive sources and the radioactive material was encapsulated in stainless steel.

A police spokesman told The Press he understood the vehicle is owned by a private company.

He said he had been told if the radioactive material was exposed it would be ''about as dangerous as standing in front of an X-ray machine''.

''It's not something you want kids playing with or you don't want it broken down for scrap metal.''

Inspector Marc Paynter said the unauthorised removal of the radioactive material could 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," he 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".

The nuclear density meter is a Troxler model 3440.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact their nearest police station. Alternatively, they could call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- Fairfax Media

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