Letter: Dangerous journeys with explosives

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sidney Alford's complaint (Letters, 29 June) that life for him as an explosives engineer is made extremely difficult, while farmers can store ammonium nitrate completely unregulated, is certainly justified, though I suspect he deliberately omits to recognise the need for detonator security. It reminded me however of how things used to be.

In the Sixties, we used explosives for cave exploration. While still a student, I easily obtained a licence to possess 10lb of explosive and bought it legally from the local ICI depot. However, we could not take it on public transport and had no car. So every weekend we would hitchhike to the caving area. I sat next to many a kindly driver with several pounds of explosive and a few detonators in my rucksack. I am still unwilling to say where we stored it.

Times have changed, but there still needs to be a little danger in life. It is a shame that the IRA has effectively put a stop to such things.

Yours faithfully,


Sevenoaks, Kent

30 June