Refuse workers in Ealing may not normally expect to fear for their lives, but a run-in with lethal explosives must have caused a bit of a shock.

Ronald Hussey, who ran the council dump in Stirling Road, had a miraculous escape 20 years ago this week.

The dump manager came within inches of losing his life when he hurled a metal box across the yard, not realising it held acid grenades and bullets.

He later found out from police that the ammunition contained the volatile, highly dangerous prussic acid - a cocktail of cyanide and hydrogen.

In an edition of the Gazette of November 18, 1988, he said: "I threw the box to one side and it split open when it hit the ground.

"I nearly died when I saw what was in it. I had been on the point of throwing the box into the crusher, which has 14-ton pressure.

"I'm very lucky to be alive today. People are so stupid dumping dangerous objects here, putting lives at risk. They should be handed to the police."

Officers later removed the box, which was examined by explosives experts. Tom Kelly, then chief inspector for Acton, said: "The explosives held the most lethal type of acid, prussic acid, which is very volatile.

"We had a very lucky escape."