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Greater Manchester Police

Ministry of Defence munitions stolen from English train

The materials are stable but could be hazardous if tampered with.

A COUNTER-TERRORISM UNIT of the police forces in the UK are appealing for information about the theft of munitions from a freight train between Cumbria and Oxfordshire earlier this week.

Despite the involvement of the unit, detectives are slow to suggest that the robbery is terrorism-related.

Ten packages, each containing four separate plastic cases, were initially reported missing to the British Transport Police at about 7.30am on Thursday when the train arrived at Didcot in Oxfordshire.

Seven of the packages have since been recovered. They were found near a railway line in the Folley Lane area of Warrington, Chesire.

Officers from the North-West Counter-Terrorism Unit are continuing with their enquiries to try and trace the remaining three packages. They are described as being rectangular plastic tubes, about four-foot in length.

The Ministry of Defence-owned munitions were on the train when it left Longtown in Cumbria at about 11.30am on Wednesday. Police now understand the munitions were taken off the train while it was temporarily stationary in Warrington, and seven of the packages discarded nearby.

The investigation is being led by the NWCTU with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Service, British Transport Police and MoD.

Officers are appealing to anyone who may have seen the outstanding items to contact their local police station.

“At this stage there is nothing to suggest the theft is terrorist-related, but due to the potential complexity of the investigation, our enquiries are being led by counter terrorism officers,” said chief constable Terry Sweeney.

“I want to make it clear that, in their normal condition, these munitions are stable and do not pose a risk to the public.

“However, the materials could be hazardous if they were to be tampered with and we therefore ask that anyone who sees them or knows where they are to call the police as soon as possible.”

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