FOR very obvious reasons, you can’t walk into a shop and walk out with a couple of sticks of dynamite or several pounds of plastic-explosive.

The sale of explosives is very tightly controlled in this country.

Members of the public who want to possess or use chemicals which can be used to create them must hold a valid licence issued by the Home Office and a recognised photographic identity document.

And businesses which supply such chemicals are legally obliged to report suspicious transactions, losses or thefts.

But over the past year there has been a clear trend for thieves to use gas cannisters to blow cash machines out of walls.

At least ten cash machines have been targeted in the Bradford area in the last 12 months, including incidents in Oxenhope, Addingham, Cullingworth, Clayton, Steeton, Shipley, Allerton, Fairweather Green, Pudsey and Thornton.

As we reveal today West Yorkshire Police has a specialist team working on these incidents and a number of arrests have been made.

There are many millions of gas cylinders in use across the country. They can be found in hospitals, at campsites, building sites and in car body shops.

However, they are now being used for the purposes of crime and we wonder if the time has not come to introduce stricter vetting and regulation of such items.

We would not support a nanny state where an individual’s every move is scrutinised, but increased regulation is surely preferable to a tragedy.