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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Cheap anti-landmine tool unveiled
A Dragon burns through a piece of steel plate
A Dragon burns through a piece of steel plate during a demonstration
A simple and cheap new method for clearing landmines without using explosives has been unveiled by a team of British scientists.

The high-temperature flare, made from water mixed with plaster and an aluminium powder, burns mines without causing them to explode.

Experts at Cranfield University, in Oxfordshire, have designed the "Dragon" so it can be manufactured locally.

It is claimed it could save thousands of people from being injured or killed.

Dr Steve Murray and Professor Ian Wallace, who invented and designed the device, demonstrated how it works at the Royal Defence Academy in Shrivenham on Tuesday.

It will mean some poor devil will not have to crawl on their hands and knees and try and defuse the landmine
Philip Robinson
Disarmco

The pair, who have been working on it since 2001, both work at the Royal Military College of Science at Cranfield University.

Philip Robinson, managing director of the firm that will produce it, said: "It is brilliantly simple and much safer and cheaper to use than explosives.

"It works on the basis of burning out a landmine rather than blowing it up, which is the preferred method at the moment.

"It is essentially a firework, which burns like a Roman Candle.

"It will mean some poor devil will not have to crawl on their hands and knees and try and defuse the landmine themself."

Landmines injure up to 20,000 people around the world every year, with the blasts causing burns, blindness and loss of limbs.

The device has already been tested successfully in the Lebanon and Cambodia.




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