SEVERAL barrels of potentially hazardous waste was found dumped in a park – thankfully it was all part of a training exercise.

An area of Darlington's South Park was sealed off while specialist staff from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS), the Environment Agency (EA) and Darlington Borough Council took part in the training exercise.

The Northern Echo:

The multi-agency training exercise in Darlington's South Park

Their task was to safely recover several barrels fly tipped in South Park, on the banks of the River Skerne, with some of the barrels falling into the river itself.

Council staff were also be involved in disposing of the waste once it is deemed safe.

Firefighters in full hazardous waste suits were called in to tackle the emergency with the help of the EA’s field team who used booms across the river to prevent the waste from spreading and polluting the water.

The Northern Echo:

Firefighters in action during the training exercise

Ray Sillito, CDDFRS’s emergency response and resilience planning manager, said: "The learning and training day is around flytipping and pollution control, the small exercise is regarding two containers which have been dumped in the river and are leaking an unknown contaminant into the river which is causing an environmental issue."