Odd envelope sparks fear

MAIL SCARE: Police enter the Ballina Community Services office after a suspicious package was found.
MAIL SCARE: Police enter the Ballina Community Services office after a suspicious package was found. Doug Eaton

ABOUT 80 staff from the NSW Community Service's Ballina office were evacuated from the Tamar St building for just over two hours yesterday as an envelope with a suspicious substance in it was checked out.

Inspector Nicole Bruce from Ballina police said the substance in the envelope was deemed safe by police and a NSW Fire and Rescue Hazmat team, and the building reopened about 1.15pm.

But Insp Bruce wouldn't reveal what was in the envelope as it was now under investigation with Ballina police.

Staff at Community Services, formerly known as DoCS, had phoned police about 11am when an unknown substance was seen oozing from the envelope addressed to staff.

Insp Bruce said the envelope had a note on its reverse side, which police were now investigating.

It is believed the note related to a child.

After the building was evacuated, two police bomb appraisal technicians assessed the envelope.

Once they deemed the substance wasn't explosive, the envelope was left in the building for a NSW Fire and Rescue Hazmat team also to inspect, which then gave the final all-clear.

Insp Bruce said the envelope would be checked by a forensic team for fingerprints.

She said none of the Community Services staff in the building had to be treated by paramedics, who were at the scene while the envelope was inspected.

She said it was good news in the end as the envelope did not have a dangerous substance inside.

She also congratulated emergency service staff involved for the co-ordinated response to the potentially dangerous incident.

If anyone has any information on the envelope, phone Ballina police on 6681 8699.

Topics:  ballina hazmat police

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