British Transport Police officers have issued a stark warning after two railway detonators were stolen from the rail line near Bessacarr level crossing.
The theft is believed to have taken place sometime between 1am and 8am on Sunday, 8 September. Rail staff discovered the theft when they began work later that Sunday morning.
The detonators, which are safe if handled correctly, are designed to be triggered by impact and emit a loud bang when a train passes over them. In this instance, they were placed on the track and used by rail staff in order to warn rail maintenance workmen of approaching trains.
The detonators are described as small discs, approximately 5cm in diameter with two lead strips either side.
PC Peter Eldred, of British Transport Police, said: “The detonators contain mild explosives and emit a loud bang when drivers pass over them, to warn track workers that a train will be coming their way soon.
“They could be very dangerous in untrained hands, particularly young children or teenagers who may see them as a source of fun or entertainment.
“Recently a teenage sadly lost their sight after a detonator accident so I can’t emphasise the dangers enough.
“We are obviously 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.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact British Transport Police on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016 quoting reference 80 of 8/09/2013, or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.