Suffolk drain from which man’s body was recovered had ‘light duty’ manhole cover

Four police cars were at the scene, in Linnet Road, on Wednesday night. Picture: EMMA BRENNAN

Four police cars were at the scene, in Linnet Road, on Wednesday night. Picture: EMMA BRENNAN - Credit: Archant

The drain where a man died in west Suffolk last week was protected with a “light duty” manhole cover, it has been confirmed.

Anglian Water said the manhole cover in Linnet Road, Bury St Edmunds, from which a man’s body was recovered on Wednesday, could have been opened using tools available on the high street.

Neighbours said the man had died after being overcome by toxic fumes while trying to clear a blocked drain.

Suffolk police confirmed last week that the death was not being treated as suspicious. Officers had been called at around 4.30pm to reports a man had been pulled from a drain by a member of the public.

When asked how someone could have got into the drainage system, a spokesman for Anglian Water said: “There are many different types of manhole covers, depending on the size and depth of whatever infrastructure (pipes etc) are in the ground beneath.

“This particular manhole cover was a ‘light duty’ cover, housing a small sewerage pipe; this type of cover can be opened using tools available on the high street.

“Whatever the size and type, manholes should only ever be accessed by trained staff who will follow the appropriate health and safety procedures.”

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The death left neighbours and the wider community shocked and saddened.

St Edmundsbury Mayor Terry Clements said: “Any time we hear of something like this happening we are always shocked and saddened.

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“It is a real shock to hear of this sudden death, and I’m sure many residents have felt the same way in the community. My thoughts are with the family and friends of the man involved.”

Several police cars as well as the East of England Ambulance Service attended the scene on Wednesday.

The road was closed for around four hours and a police cordon was put in place.

Suffolk police said it was investigating the circumstances of what happened and the death was being treated as “unexplained”.

Anybody who has any information about the incident is asked to call Suffolk Constabulary on 101, quoting CAD reference 305 of May 9.

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