THE taxpayer will foot a £26,716 bill for the closure of Shoebury East Beach because of fears over wartime shells.

The Shoebury beach was off limits from May 1 until June 20 after it had to be shut down because of several unexploded shells being found.

Southend Council worked with the Ministry of Defence to clean up the beach.

The total cost included £10,500 on fencing, temporary signs set the authority back £504, and the cost of paying workers out of hours was £4,112.

Movin g moored boats also cost £11,600.

Graham Longley, Lib Dem deputy leader of the council, said:“We license the area from the MoD and it was the council’s decision to close East Beach.

“The decision was about public safety and we have therefore funded the closure from an emergency contingency budget.”