Police are investigating claims human waste was found in a batch of drink cans delivered to a Coca Cola factory in Northern Ireland.

Machines at the factory in County Antrim reportedly became clogged during a night shift last week. When workers probed the machinery they found what they believed to be human waste, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

A source told the newspaper: "It was absolutely horrible, and the machines had to be turned off for about 15 hours to be cleaned. It was unusual because normally the cans come from somewhere else in the UK, but this time they apparently came from Germany."

"The rumour is that some poor immigrants could have made that long journey in the lorry and that in their desperation were forced to use the cans instead of a toilet."

Coca Cola have stressed that none of the affected products have made their way onto shop shelves and that the incident was isolated. The Food Standards Authority (FSA) confirmed that consumers were not at any risk of coming into contact with the cans.

The Coca Cola factory where they incident occurred is in the city of Lisburn. It is not known if the cans were branded with Coca Cola or one of the firm's many other drinks lines.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: "Detectives are investigating an incident at commercial premises in the Lisburn area following reports that a consignment of containers delivered to the premises had been contaminated.

"The investigation is at an early stage and there are no further details available at this time."

The multinational drinks giant said: "We are treating this matter extremely seriously and are conducting a thorough investigation in co-operation with the PSNI."

"The problem was identified immediately through our robust quality procedures and all of the product from the affected production was immediately impounded and will not be sold. This is an isolated incident and does not affect any products currently on sale."

The Food Standards Agency said: "The FSA in Northern Ireland is aware of a physical contamination incident at Coca-Cola Hellenic in Lisburn. There is no evidence to suggest that any affected product has reached the market."