It was a November morning like any other as people went about their business in the pre-Christmas gloom.

Most people had only getting out of their cold or the queues at Shorehead roundabout on their mind on November 28 2013.

But at 8.31am a 999 call handler took what they believed would just be another routine report.

The nervous-sounding man on the line claimed he'd been contaminated with a white powder, which he believed to be anthrax on a street in Huddersfield.

Later he told specialist firefighters suggested he'd had the powder in his mouth and swallowed some of it.

Emergency services had a choice - to either treat it as a joke and do the minimum or to take it seriously and put into action a huge operation to contain any possible anthrax leak.

Later, emergency services said they believed the report was 'credible' and made the decision to launch one of the biggest police, fire and ambulance operations ever seen in Huddersfield.

 

Specialist firefighters raced to scene and saw the man, who was at a bus stop near the Top Spot Snooker Club in Wakefield Road, close to Huddersfield University.

In the meantime police closed off Shorehead down to Aspley crossroads at Firth Street and St Andrew's Road.

The firefighters issued orders to the stricken man, who was later found to have mental health issues, to strip and showered him before they got him into a special chemical decontamination suit which was then hosed down.

Eyewitness Martin Pilkington, 25,working as a contractor at the University of Huddersfield, said he saw the man stripped down to a white T-shirt.

He told how firefighters handed him an orange suit which he at first “kicked away.”

Mr Pilkington added: “They then washed him down and he willingly put the suit on and walked back with them.”

Another contractor said: “The man was just standing at the bus stop and it looked like he was on his phone.

“They took all his clothes off and hosed him down.”

The street was checked for contamination, but it was later revealed 999 services at the scene found no trace of powder.

The man, who was known to police, was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary but he needed no treatment.

But in the meantime one of the main routes into the town centre had been shut off meaning thousands of motorists were trapped on clogged roads for up to 90 minutes as the scene was checked.

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The roads were re-opened at 11am with Station commander Steve Goddard, of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service's Hazardous Materials Unit, telling the Examiner: "We have to work on the worst case scenario."

See below for how we reported the drama live as it happened on the day.

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