FEW people may remember when a massive police hunt was intensified in Blackburn in October 1979, after 28 cartons of explosives were stolen from a rail wagon.

The cartons, which contained more than 25,000 percussion caps for Army bullets were taken when the rail wagon was left in a sliding overnight.

Teams of police officers, along with specially trained sniffer dogs began the search on Friday October 5.

And as the hunt was stepped up, a senior police spokesman said: "We are sure children are involved, and if they start to play around with them, they could be in serious danger."

By lunchtime on Saturday October 6, police had managed to recover 17 of the lethal cartons, which each contained up to 1,000 detonator caps, and were appealing for help from the public in tracking the remaining 11 cartons.

The cartons were among a consignment of explosives en route from the Royal Ordnance factory at Chorley to Radley Green in Cheshire.

They were left overnight at sidings in Blackburn on Thursday October 4, when thieves broke through seals and locks to get to the explosives.

Police discounted the possibility of the theft being linked to terrorism as they believed it was children who were responsible.