CARS and homes near to Unilever’s Warrington factory have been left covered in a layer of soap powder.

Residents living near to the Bank Quay plant reported the bizarre phenomenon on the morning of Tuesday, May 19.

Some said that they were unable to even see due to a thick cloud from Crosfields engulfing the area.

Michelle Beddall, of Parker Street, said: “It was pumping that much soap powder out that you couldn't see as it was that thick.

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Picture by Michelle Beddall

“The powder was everywhere.”

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Gaz Fletcher said that every vehicle parked on Dixon Street was affected.

He added: “My car was covered in chemicals.

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“The whole street was affected and you could even see the chemicals on the bins too – I spoke to a neighbour who wasn't too happy either, and he was confused when he woke up this morning as to what had actually happened.

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“I don't mind if it's a one-off, I’ve just got my car valeted so if it happens tomorrow I won't be happy.”

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James Marshall took this picture of the cloud of powder.

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He said: "I was walking to the station from work and took a picture of the cloud and walked through it, getting my phone covered."

Unilever is offering affected residents a free car wash as a result.

A spokesman told the Warrington Guardian: "On the evening of Monday, May 18, a vehicle delivering a raw material - sodium carbonate - to our Unilever factory had a leak, which resulted in some powder escaping.

"Due to the winds we were experiencing at the time, some of this powder was carried by the wind into neighbouring streets and caused a thin residue on a number of parked vehicles.

"We are very sorry for this incident, and are investigating to ensure that it does not happen again.

"However, we would like to reassure residents that there are no health risks associated with this leak and the vast majority of the powder was contained within our site.

"We are providing details on all affected cars of how to redeem a free car wash - we greatly value our good relationship with the local community and would like to offer our sincere apologies for the inconvenience of this incident."