WAS it an inside job? Certainly all the evidence pointed in that direction.

Someone with a deep knowledge of railway and post office routine must have played a pivotal role in a daring night time train robbery in early October, 1932.

Such was the theory of Hampshire and Wiltshire detectives after registered mail was plundered on the service between Salisbury and Portsmouth.

The packets had been placed in a sealed bag which in turn was put into another similar bag at Salisbury post office, but when the train arrived at Portsmouth the following morning, they were found to be missing.

News of the audacious theft was quickly circulated to local police stations who appealed to the public in the hope of tracing them. Within hours an Eastleigh man came forward to say he had found the empty bags in a hedge by his home.

When found, the bags had been separated. The seals and fastenings had been removed and the contents gone.

Though there had been a heavy dew, the bags were only slightly damp when found and it was unlikely they had been there long.

They were discovered about 30 yards from the line, a lonely spot and only nearby residents used the footpath as a general rule.

W H Pike, who found the items and contacted the police, told the Echo of his chance discovery.

"I intended to tar the shed at the bottom of my garden and I went behind the hedge to see if I could find some large stones on which to put my tar pot while I was heating it.

"I was searching around and saw the bags, visible to anyone in the allotments behind the hedge."

Despite an intense investigation, the thief or thieves were never traced.