A RETAIL park in Rochdale has been sealed off after the discovery of a canister of radioactive material believed to have been stolen from Bacup last month.

The canister was discovered at 12.45pm today and a 100m cordon has been put in place at The Point Retail Park. Greater Manchester Police is working with the fire service to recover the item.

Superintendent Chris Hankinson of Greater Manchester Police said: "We are at the early stages of this incident and are working closely with the fire service.

"Highly trained officers are currently implementing well-drilled procedures to safely recover this item."

The canister, which was stolen from a Peugeot panel van in New Line, Bacup, last month, is believed to contain Iridium 192, which can increase the risk of cancer, cause burns, radiation sickness or even death.

When the canister was stolen, Police warned people not to touch it.

The material was being transported from Scotland to the south of England by a courier who had stopped overnight.