Children may have been driven in a car with a booby trap bomb attached in Londonderry, police have said.
A woman picked up the device – which was found on Thursday – before realising what it was.
It was capable of exploding and causing injury, a PSNI spokesman said.
In a statement police said: “We believe the car had been driven earlier and that there may have been children in the car when it was driven by the woman.”
The device was spotted at 1pm in Talbot Park and the car was used earlier that day.
“These explosives are usually attached to the underside of vehicles under cover of darkness.”
The spokesman added: “The device was capable of going off and causing injury.”
He said the woman who drove the car spotted the crude bomb and handled it herself.
The police spokesman added: “It had the capability of going off at any time when attached to the car or when the woman handled it.”
Police have said there appeared to be no intention to target the police or prison service and the motivation may be slightly different.
Previously, dissident republicans opposed to the peace process have used this method to target members of the security services.