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A bomb...but I’ve got to finish this conservatory
2:10pm Friday 14th September 2012 in Local News
BOMB disposal experts were called after builders dug up a Second World War shell in a grandfather’s garden.
Workmen dug up the 6lb anti-aircraft shell inches from the bungalow, in Thorndon Park Drive, Leigh , while building a conservatory yesterday morning.
Frank Mellor, 71, who owns the property, said: “It’s only a small thing, but it’s still an explosive if it goes up.”
The solid, bullet-shaped metal British Army shot fell on to the spade of Betterview Windows workman Darren Joiner, as he dug the foundations.
Anxious to get the conservatory finished on time, Mr Joiner, 41, of Central Wall Road, Canvey , continued working until the police evacuated the garden.
He said: “We put it to the side and carried on digging.”
Two police officers guarded the garden, until three bomb squad officers arrived from Colchester at about 11.30am.
Sgt James Gittens, of the Royal Logistic Corp, used a hand-held device to check the rusty shell, before confirming it was not live after about ten minutes. After working as a shift manager at a London mail centre for 44 years, through the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Mr Mellor was relaxed about the find.
The grandfather said: “When I used to work for Royal Mail, in Whitechapel, and the IRA were in full force, there were a lot of suspect packages, real and fake.
“I’ve handled them before. I didn’t think anything of it.”
The shell probably remained buried since the Forties, before the bungalow was built on former corn fields, in 1958.
Sgt Gittens said a lot of shells were found in the area.
He said: “It’s not live. However, it does not mean other items people find aren’t live and the workmen took the right course of act- ion.
“We urge anyone who finds items like this to contact the police, who will call the Explosive Ordinance Disposal team to check it.”
The officers took the shell away for disposal.
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