A BAIT-DIGGER uncovered a haul of Second World War shells on Southend's foreshore.

Peter Tutt, 30, found 32 shells and immediately reported it to the authoritoes because it posed a danger.

The Army had to wait until they had the best chance of success before denoating them in a loud explosion.

Mr Tutt, of Trinity Avenue, Westcliff, said: “The high tides and strong winds had uncovered them all so I called the coastguard but by the time they arrived the tide was in so they came back and detonated the lot on New Years Day.”

It’s not the first time Peter has found himself facing a haul of unstable old wartime bombs.

As long as three years ago he told the Echo he had considered whether to stop reporting them because they were affecting his business.

Police were ordering to keep such a wide birth that he was unable to carry on working, and could not complete his orders.

He said: “The most I have found were 38 and that was back in 2008 but it is impossible to tell whether they have all been dropped from planes or over the side from ships.”

He now goes out baiting twice a day - which requires some bottle with the threat of the bombs in the water.

But it is also a chance for him to collect some unusual items - and despite the drama on New Year’s Eve he managed to return with a trophy. H

e said: “You get used to finding bombs in the end but I did also find a lovely iridescent lemonade bottle at the same time still with the marble in the top so that made it worthwhile.”

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said: “32 Second World War shells were found by a bait digger in the Ray Gut off Southend. “The ordnances was detonated by the Army at the foreshore in situ at low water.

“The bait diggers go out and they come across these shells because there were hundreds of them dropped in the Thames. “The Army normally come down and blow them up.”