Suspicious parcels sent to embassies

POLICE were last night investigating the discovery of four suspicious packages received at a number of foreign embassies in London.

The packages, all containing white powder, were sent to four separate diplomatic premises in the capital.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said initial tests suggested that the contents were non- hazardous although fuller tests had yet to be completed.

The Saudi Arabian embassy confirmed that it had received an envelope containing white powder yesterday morning and that British authorities were called.

The embassy said police had "dealt with the matter on the spot", and the embassy had taken precautionary measures to protect staff.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said last night the items were being examined and the Home Office confirmed that suspicious packages were being investigated.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said it had been made aware of the packages but stressed that the matter was being dealt with by the police. "The safety of our staff is paramount and we have procedures for dealing with any mail that employees consider suspicious," she said

A response plan was developed by Royal Mail, in collaboration with the security and emergency services, following the anthrax attacks in the United States in October 2001.

Five people died after letters laced with anthrax were sent to various media and political organisations in the US in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks.

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