WORK is under way to rid Shoebury East Beach of unexploded bombs.

Specialists from the Royal Navy Southern Diving Group have begun their painstaking search of the area following the discovery of 15 artillery or mortar shells on May 1.

The beach has been closed off to the public ever since the find. While the large greensward area has remained open, the closure has hit the number of visitors to the area, damaging local trade. Once the work is complete, the MoD will meet with Southend Council to discuss when the beach can open.

The meeting is likely to take place in the middle of this month.