Alert over dangerous rail thefts

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POLICE are on the look out for six rail detonators which were stolen from a building site.

The bright yellow devices – which are about the size of a 50 pence piece – are used by rail companies to let trains and motorists know that work is going on further down the line.

They emit a high pitched sound when detonated by compression, such as a train crossing over one placed on the railway line.

Police say the offence was committed between 5pm on Tuesday January 24 and 7am the following day, unknown offenders broke into a cabin on the site on Bolton Road, Atherton, near to the railway bridge.

Police Constable Paul Berry, said: “In the wrong hands these detonators can be dangerous and I would urge whoever has them to give them up.

“I would also ask for anyone with information about the theft or those responsible to call me.”

As well as the detonators, thieves stole three mobile phones, but left many more items, behind prompting police officers to believe it may have been opportunist thieves who carried out the thefts.

The building site is part of ongoing work to replace the decrepit railway bridge which has been ongoing since September last year.

Drivers who use Bolton Road, Atherton, have already faced months of delays and although there was some relief as work finished ahead of its three-month estimated timescale, drivers will again bear the brunt of yet more work in the near future.

Network Rail has now replaced the railway bridge supporting the road over the train line, which had become unstable from years of wear and carrying an excessive amount of traffic.

The rail company deemed the bridge unsafe early last year and decided that it could not continue carrying the amount of traffic it was used to as the structure had become so weak.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call police on 0161 856 7229, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.