By Richard Long
A BRITISH National Party (BNP) member was at the centre of a major security alert this week after he received a Christmas card believed to have been filled with traces of the fatal infection anthrax.
Emergency services were called to Dersingham's Centre Vale Road on Wednesday morning after the victim opened the envelope to find a card emblazoned with swastika symbols and the word "anthrax" before discovering a suspicious substance inside. It is believed the attack stems from the publication of a BNP membership list, leaked on the Internet last month, which features the personal details of a number of party supporters in the region. Speaking in relation to the incident, the victim, a 38-year-old man who lives with his mother, simply said: "I am quite shocked by it all. "That is all I have to say. "Police arrived at the scene at around 11.30am and were supported throughout the day by fire crews and the ambulance service. A police helicopter was also seen circling the village at lunch time. Officers conducted a "methodical and thorough" investigation at the scene but test results later revealed the substance was harmless.
Three people had been in contact with the substance – believed to be a powdered laxative – and were taken to hospital as a precaution before being released. Dave Fleming, the BNP organiser for West Norfolk, has condemned the attack and said such incidents were almost inevitable following the publication of the membership list.He told the Lynn News: "This poor chap is in total trauma. "Whoever sent this envelope has no respect for the privacy of this person and they showed a total lack of consideration for the community at large."It is not just our member who was put through this. "There were diversions for traffic and a great deal of public money was wasted in terms of emergency services. "A major police operation would have frightened a number of people in the area and I have nothing but contempt for these people."I would equally condemn an attack on a far-left organisation, we live in a society where people are entitled to their political views. "Mr Fleming said that the victim immediately contacted him after receiving the card and he told the man to wash his hands, avoid any contact with food and then call the police. When officers arrived a decontamination tent was set up at the scene and he was told he could not even let his dog out to answer a call of nature. Mr Fleming decided to contact the Lynn News after the police remained tight-lipped about the operation. He added: "People demand answers. This is how false rumours get out and I feel it is best to come clean. "The case is of interest for our members, the public and a variety of other people.
"If anyone in West Norfolk should be getting abuse it should be me, I am leading from the front and I am sorry it is our low level members who are getting the flack. "The BNP has more than 100 members, supporters and donors in West Norfolk and several anonymous calls have been made to members since the list was published.
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