Porter held over public school 'soup plot'

17 March 2010, 08:59 | Updated: 18 March 2010, 08:00

A kitchen porter's been arrested on suspicion of poisoning soup at the famous Stowe public school near Buckingham.

The 58-year-old man from Brackley, Northamptonshire, was suspended after staff noticed in a chemical smell in the soup during routine checks.  They contacted police on Thursday 11 March.

It's thought the smell was caused by some sort of household cleaning product.  An investigation's underway.

Headteacher Dr Anthony Wallersteiner said: "I would like to reassure parents that no pupils or members of staff were affected in the incident."

The porter was arrested at his home on suspicion of administering poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm.  Police said they could not detain him due to health reasons, releasing him on bail until 29 March.

An e-mail has been sent to parents of the school's 750 pupils, telling them about the arrest.  Former pupils at the £27,000-a-year Buckinghamshire school include Sir Richard Branson.  Fees at the school are £9,130 a term for boarders or £6,620 a term for day pupils.

Detective Constable Vicky Ball from Thames Valley Police said: "Nobody has been harmed, but these are serious accusations. Our investigation is still in its early stages and forensic work is continuing."