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They normally deal with some of the grottiest aspects of human life. But bin men have had their meal times disturbed after someone heated human excrement in a microwave oven.

The soiled machine was targeted in a communal kitchen in Brighton and Hove City Council ’s Hollingdean depot.

Bosses have said they are taking the matter “very seriously” and are urging their refuse and recycling workers to help them catch the culprit.

But staff at the depot are still bemused by the incident and are referring to it as “Workforce Update 28” – the council’s vague title for what happened.

One worker, who did not want to be named, told The Argus: “This is both ridiculous and disgusting. It’s either some sort of protest or someone’s idea of a gag – either way, it’s revolting.”

The incident took place on July 20 but it took more than a week for the microwave oven to be removed.

Bosses said the microwave was immediately cleaned and sealed with airtight yellow and black tape more commonly associated with hazardous incidents.

A message was also left on the machine telling those who use the area what had happened.

An update sent round to all members of staff, titled Workforce Update 28, said: “The microwave in the canteen has unfortunately been used to heat excrement and cannot be made hygienic or safe to use.

“Please do not use. We will have it disconnected and removed.

“This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and we will not be replacing the microwave.”

A council spokeswoman yesterday said: “We were unable to remove the microwave straight away as it was bolted and wired to the wall and an engineer had to be called.

“The power was disconnected to prevent use. The microwave has now been removed. We do not know who was responsible for this incident.

“We take this matter very seriously, and have urged anyone who has any information on this incident to come forward.”