THE army have carried out a controlled explosion of a world war two bomb, discovered by a metal detecting enthusiast. 

The device was discovered by a Laindon man while hunting artefacts in Benfleet yesterday.

The 20mm canon shell was caked in mud and it was not til he got it home and cleaned it up that he realised it was a bomb. 

He alerted police who cordoned off his home, in High Road, Laindon, and evacuated residents from their properties. 

It was moved to a secure location at Basildon Council's Barleylands depot where it was put under police guard.

This morning it was moved to a field in Billericay where a bomb disposal team from Colchester Garrison carried out a controlled explosion. 

A spokesman from the Ministry of Defence, said: "A bomb disposal team from Colchester Troop, 621 Squadron, 11 EOD Regiment Royal Logistic Corps was called out to High Road in Laindon just after 10pm on Sunday 18 January.

"A man had found a suspected artillery shell while using a metal detector in Benfleet and brought it back to his house.

"He raised the alarm after becoming concerned about the condition of the item.

"On inspection, it was found to be a Second World War-vintage 20mm High Explosive Shell which still contained explosives.

"It was taken to the Barleylands Recycling Centre for storage overnight and then destroyed in a controlled explosion in fields near Billericay at 9.45am on Monday 19 January.

"Destroying the shell was the safest thing to do in the circumstances, as old ammunition can be quite unstable. It item was both stored and moved safely and securely before being blown up.

"We would encourage the public to raise the alarm if they do have concerns about any suspect items they find and not to touch them. It is better to be safe than sorry."