AN explosion caused by a grenade left a huge crater in a golf course green.

Detectives have launched an investigation after a two-foot wide crater was discovered at Burnley Golf Club in Glen View Road.

They said the grenade was issued to the British Army and believe it could have been taken by a soldier who brought it home on leave.

Officers were called to the scene by the club when they discovered the giant hole on the sixth green shortly after 11am on Sunday.

It was spotted by the green keeper who was cutting the grass.

Police said the grenade was probably thrown at around 8.30pm on Saturday evening when a neighbour heard a bang.

According to officers the explosion caused around £800 worth of damage on the highest point of the course.

Items found close by led officers to believe the crater was caused by a modern military hand grenade.

These items have been seized for forensic examination.

Detective Inspector Martin Melvin, of Burnley CID, said: "A search of the area around the crater led to the discovery of what we believe to be a fly over lever from a military hand grenade.

"We are clearly very keen to establish where the grenade came from and who threw it onto the golf course."

The crater was discovered by groundsman Andrew Samuels on Sunday morning.

He said: "I came up onto the green and it was covered in debris.

"At first I thought it was a firework, but it's frightening to think it was a grenade.

"We had a competition on Sunday and it took me and my colleague an extra two hours to make the green playable.

"And then there's the repair work as well."

DI Melvin said he is confident the offender knew no-one would be hurt in the explosion, but said grenades are designed to cause maximum disruption and injury, so the consequences could have been very serious.

He added: "Fortunately no-one was injured in this incident and the damage can quite easily be repaired but the person who threw it might not be so lucky if there were to do a similar thing again."

He is now appealing for anyone with any information to come forward.

He said: "It may be that someone heard a bang in the area but thought it was a firework or maybe a member of the public or local resident saw someone acting suspicious near to the golf course."

Anyone who can assist police is urged to call 0845 1 25 35 45.