Gardaí have issued a warning to the public after radioactive material was taken in a burglary in Swords, Co Dublin over the weekend.

Seven lightning preventers, which were contained in a red metal box, were taken during the course of the burglary.

They have the appearance of aluminium or stainless steel, but are of no scrap value.

Gardaí said these are highly dangerous and should not be touched or approached.

The Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland said: "If handled, they will cause radioactive contamination to the person's hands and clothing with the possibly of internal radioactive contamination."

Close proximity to them will result in a person exceeding the annual radiation dose limit in a matter of hours.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Swords Garda Station on 01-6664700 or the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland on 01-2066913.

RPII Chief Executive Dr Ann McGarry said: "It is vitally important that this material is located as soon as possible.

"I would also appeal directly to the people who have stolen these.

"They may have no idea what it is that they have in their possession or they may have discarded them somewhere.

"If that is the case then I would ask them to contact us, so that we can recover the items as soon as possible."