Spanish police said they had arrested a bomb disposal expert after he was found to be in possession of 755 kilos (1,660 pounds) of Goma 2 ECO explosive of the type used in last year’s Madrid train bombings along with thousands of detonators.
According to police sources the man, aged 50, was detained near Barcelona following inquiries made as part of an interior ministry crackdown on industrial stocks of explosive since the train bombings which killed 191 people.
The blasts, allegedly carried out by mainly Moroccan Islamic extremists, followed the transportation of explosives from a disused mineshaft in northern Spain to Madrid.
According to media reports police believed the man may have had access to the nitroglycerine-based explosive during the course of his work and stowed away what was left after each job.
Police detained the officer on Tuesday in possession of 33 sticks of Goma 2 ECO in a plastic bag, and a subsequent search of his property uncovered some four times as much explosive as was used in the Madrid bombings, Spain’s worst ever terrorist attack.
They also found 5,312 electrical detonators and 75 litres of oil.
Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso said that the find “does not appear to be in any way related to terrorist activity.