POLICE are warning the public to be on their guard after some small explosive charges were stolen from a van.
The theft took place between 10pm on Tuesday, January 20, and 8.30am the following morning, after the victim had parked his works van outside an address on Cross Street, Tyldesley.
The offenders broke into the van, which belongs to a railways contractor, and stole a ‘safety blue kit bag’ containing equipment for conducting maintenance to the rail network.
The bag contained several items, but most importantly six ‘detonator signals’.
These are small explosive charges which are attached to the railway line with lead straps and are detonated when the trains drive over them.
They produce a loud bang, similar to a gunshot, and are used to alert drivers when work is taking place on the track up ahead.
The detonator signals are around 2” in diameter and were stored (as a set of 6) in an orange container similar to the one pictured.
Detective Sergeant Paul Jackson said: “I would like to stress that these signal detonators pose very little risk to the public.
“They cannot be primed or set off with a timer, and do not explode in the way a proper explosive device would do.
“However, there is a chance they can be used to cause some damage to vehicles if driven over, or cause alarm if they are set off near unsuspecting people.
“That is why we would like the public’s help in getting them recovered as quickly as possible.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7225 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.