Man arrested and charged over supermarket syringe attack

Met Police arrested a man on Wednesday night (25 August) on suspicion of contaminating food at three W6 supermarkets.

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Pictured is Tesco Express at 168-188 Fulham Palace Road closed off as a crime scene by the Met Police

Met Police officers arrested a 37-year-old man on Wednesday night (25 August) on suspicion of contaminating food at three supermarkets near Charing Cross Hospital.

The man was named as Leoaai Elghareeb, of Crabtree Lane, Fulham. He appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday (27 August) and was charged with contaminating or interfering with goods with intent. He did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody.

Officers were called at 7.35pm on Wednesday after a man was reported to be shouting abuse at people in the street. The man is alleged to have visited three supermarkets in Fulham Palace Road and injected items using a number of syringes. 

The supermarkets are:

  • Little Waitrose at 201-207 Fulham Palace Road, W6
  • Sainsbury’s Local at 179-183 Fulham Palace Road, W6
  • Tesco Express at 168-188 Fulham Palace Road, W6.

This is a worrying incident and we’re working with the Metropolitan Police and Public Health England to examine any risks to the public or staff at the supermarkets. Currently, these risks are thought to be low.

However, shoppers are advised to bin anything bought after 6pm on the evening of Wednesday 25 August from these supermarkets near Charing Cross Hospital. If you suspect any of the items purchased may be contaminated, please keep hold of these items and contact the police via the non-emergency 101 referencing CAD 6341/25AUG.

We have also asked the three retailers to discard items in their shops and undertake a deep clean of their premises as an added precaution. The supermarkets remain closed.

Met Police Detective Chief Superintendent, Owain Richards, in charge of policing in Hammersmith & Fulham, added: “I acknowledge the public concern around this incident. Investigations are underway to understand what items have been contaminated, but we now know this includes food and non-food items.

“Enquiries are also ongoing to identify what the items have been contaminated with and this is subject to further forensic examination. We would ask people not to speculate until we have these results.

“At this stage, there is nothing to suggest that the suspect has been working as part of a group but detectives are keeping an open mind around the motive for these events.

“I would like to reassure members of the public that the Met is working closely with our partners at Hammersmith & Fulham Council, as well as other authorities, as we pursue all lines of inquiry. This is a multi-agency response and we are also working with the supermarket branches that have been affected.

“We have not had further reports of the type of incidents brought to our attention and we are continuing to work on establishing the timeline of this man’s movements and the wider circumstances of these events.”

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