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HILLSVILLE — Investigators believe that an unknown subject dumped the contents of a mobile methamphetamine lab in an alley behind Hillsville Town Hall on Thursday, according to Hillsville police.
Police received a call from a town maintenance worker about some suspicious materials found in shrubs in an alley near a town parking lot on Mill Street, said Capt. James Alderman. The worker did not approach the items, but notified authorities.
“It was a ‘shake and bake’ portable meth lab,” the captain said. “Don’t know if they got in a hurry and ditched it because they were being stopped or what.”
These items probably hadn’t been there long, because Alderman saw vapor coming out of one of the used bottles.
A variety of materials — including bleach, drain opener, batteries and decongestants — had been used and tossed out.
“These dump sites are becoming more commonplace,” according to information from the police department. “The chemicals and residue on these items are very toxic and should be avoided at all costs.”
Alderman explained that the meth cooking process creates hydrogen gas, which is extremely flammable, and leaves behind toxic residue.
Should a child get hold of the toxic by-products, the result could be lethal, he said.
Officers contacted a Virginia State Police officer to help with the scene.
Hillsville police advise that any citizens who find such materials to stay back and call for help from officers.
The incident remains under investigation.
Anyone with any information about this matter can share it with police by calling (276) 728-2251.
“I’d say in a small town like this, the chances of getting caught is very good,” Alderman said.