Council sniffs out cause of mystery stench


People were puzzled after a mystery pong descended on the town last week – but now its source has been revealed.

The smell was most noticeable on Thursday, with rumours abounding about what it was, from a strong fertilizer being placed on nearby fields to the natural river odour.

But Arun District Council has confirmed the smell was due to a gas leak from France which was carried over the English Channel.

Johanna Waldock was at the Ahead to Toe hairdressing salon in East Street, Littlehampton at around 2pm when she first noticed the stench.

The 81-year-old described it as an ‘alien’ smell which was sickly with a metallic tinge.

She said: “I have never experienced anything like this before.

“I have lived here 47 years now and I have never smelt anything like that.”

The smell continued to get worse throughout the afternoon, but thankfully when the pensioner got back to her home in St Mary’s Gardens she had closed her windows.

Despite this, the smell ‘still managed to creep in’ – but Mrs Waldock decided not to go back out to get her shopping because she only has one lung and did not want to have breathing difficulties.

Gillian Slaughter first noticed the pong after she finished work.

She said: “It was horrible and I could feel it in my throat.

“My brother-in-law said when he was in Wick at lunchtime he felt like vomiting.”

She did described the stench as a ‘sulphur-like chemical smell’.

The Environment Agency was also contacted about the smell.

A spokesman said: “We have become aware of complaints about odour issues in the Littlehampton area.

“People are encouraged to report any further incidences to us via our 24 hour emergency hotline on 0800 807060.”