Quirky News

  • 23 January 2013, 12:02

'Le stink' leaves SE England gagging

Stink /Rex

Horrified householders in the south east of England flooded police with calls after the world's smelliest substance left them gagging.

Health officials eventually tracked the source of the "rotten cabbage" pong down - to a factory in France.

They pinpointed it to a leak at a factory in Rouen, Normandy, about 70 miles west of Paris, reports The Mirror.

And they revealed it was a colourless gas called mercaptan, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as "the world's smelliest substance".

The harmless substance is added to natural gas to give it a tell-tale pong in case of leaks.

Lucy Parker, 27, was in bed in Hastings, East Sussex, when she was woken by 'le stink'.

She said: "It is totally disgusting and makes you retch. I turned round to my boyfriend and told him off.

"Then he started blaming me, until we realised the smell was completely overpowering and wasn't coming from either of us."

James Boyes, 42, of Dover, added: "It is truly, truly awful - like the worst flatulent person ever standing with their back turned to you."

A police spokesman said: "We understand the smell emanates from an accidental discharge at a factory in Rouen. It is unpleasant, but not toxic and there is no danger the public."

Advertisement