Children could be maimed if they play with railway detonators stolen from a Doncaster train depot, police warned today.
Railway police issued a danger alert after a locomotive was broken into at the Carr Loco marshalling yard in Balby over the weekend.
They fear if the explosive detonators are used by thrill- seekers a child could easily have a hand blown off.
The eight railway detonators were stolen from a freight train stationed at Carr Loco over a three-day period when it was not running.
The train was locked by the driver at 6pm on Thursday, August 4. When he returned at 7am on Monday he discovered the locomotive cab had been broken into and a number of items stolen, including the tube of railway detonators, red flags and a master key.
Detonators are used by rail staff in order to warn train drivers of the presence of engineers or potential hazards on the line.
The detonators - safe if handled correctly - are designed to be triggered by an impact and emit a loud bang when a train passes over them.
They are an extra safety device for use if an engine breaks down and the driver needs to alert other trains using the same track.
The detonators are described as small yellow-coloured discs, approximately two inches in diameter with two lead strips either side.
It is the first time any have been stolen in the Doncaster area for some time, say British Transport Police.
PC Graham Maughan, of BTP, said: “The detonators contain mild explosives and emit a loud bang when drivers pass over them.
“They could be very dangerous in untrained hands, particularly young children or teenagers who may see them as a source of fun or entertainment.
“They could easily blow someone’s hand off.
“We are concerned for the safety of the individuals who have the detonators, regardless of their age, and I would urge anyone who has information that could help us with our enquiries to contact us as soon as possible.”
Because the Doncaster area is a railway crime hotspot, Carr Loco has permanent night security officers and is on the route of regular police patrols. Officers are keeping an open mind on whether the culprits could be local teenagers but there have been no other recent incidents at the depot off Ten Pound Walk.
n Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 quoting B8/NEA of 10/08/2011, or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.