Bomb disposal unit investigates World War One ordnance found on beach

PUBLISHED: 07:34 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:54 01 August 2017

The bomb disposal team was called to Berrow Beach. Picture: Burnham Coastguard

The bomb disposal team was called to Berrow Beach. Picture: Burnham Coastguard

Picture: Burnham Coastguard

A bomb disposal unit was called to investigate a potentially dangerous explosive found by a metal detector enthusiast on a beach in Somerset.

A cordon was set up to keep the public safe. Picture: Burnham CoastguardA cordon was set up to keep the public safe. Picture: Burnham Coastguard

Emergency services were called to Berrow Beach yesterday (Monday) at 10.12am amid concerns for public safety.

A spokesman for Burnham Coastguard Rescue team said: “They had found an interesting item and started to clean it before realising it could indeed be a piece of historic military ordnance and still dangerous to be handled.

“They had then done the right thing and left the item alone marked its location and notified the nearby RNLI lifeguards who quickly called 999 for the coastguard.

“On arrival at the scene our station officer, who had several years experience of dealing with such items in the military, looked at the pictures that had been taken and agreed that a safety cordon should be maintained to keep the public away and further expert advice sought.”

The fuse. Picture: Burnham CoastguardThe fuse. Picture: Burnham Coastguard

Pictures of the ordnance were sent to the Royal Logistics Corps Bomb Disposal and on arrival it decided a controlled explosion was unnecessary and it could take it away safely.

The spokesman added: “It is thought that the find was the fuse section of a World War One shrapnel projectile. Shrapnel shells were anti-personnel artillery munitions which carried a large number of individual bullets close to the target and then ejected them to allow them to continue along the shell’s trajectory and strike the target individually.

“The rest of the shell had corroded away over the years in the sand, leaving just the fuse and dozens of the ball like bullets.

“It really is better to be safe than sorry as thousands of historic items are still left hidden on our beaches from the years that they were used as training grounds for our military forces.

Some of the bullets which were originally in the shell. Picture: Burnham CoastguardSome of the bullets which were originally in the shell. Picture: Burnham Coastguard

“Remember that ordnance comes in many different shapes and sizes and so if you see something suspicious don’t touch it, pick it up or take it home.

“Leave it where it is, take photos or make notes about its size, what it looks like and where it is so the experts in explosive ordnance disposal can decide if it’s safe or not.

“Then dial 999 and ask for the coastguard or, if on a lifeguarded beach, contact one of the RNLI lifeguards.”

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