A STRETCH of seafront was cordoned off after an unexploded Second World War bomb was discovered.

The area of Western Esplanade, Westcliff, which stretches from The Leas to just beyond the Oyster Creek Kitchen was blocked off by police shortly after 2pm yesterday.

The road has re-opened this morning.

The army arrived at low tide to carry out a controlled explosion on the device, which is thought to be an unexploded shell.

Traffic has built up on nearby Station Road during the seafront closure, especially during the evening rush hour.

Clare Burns, 48, an NHS manager from Westcliff, who witnessed the incident, said yesterday: “I heard from the police that they are waiting for the army to arrive and it could take as long as tomorrow.

“As the traffic has been diverted, it’s causing havoc on Station Road.

“However, it is lovely to see the seafront without cars!”

Essex Police worked alongside the Coastguard to resolve the situation.

A Coastguard spokesman said: “We are aware of a couple of unexploded ordnances on Southend Beach.

“Portsmouth Department of Defence (DOD) have been informed and the police are aware.

“The DOD will explode the bombs at the next low tide tomorrow morning.”

Blue and white tape was closed around the cordoned off area and police officers were seen at the scene diverting pedestrians and vehicles away.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Police have put a cordon in place close to Western Esplanade, Westcliff, following reports that a device resembling an unexploded shell had been found.

“A section of the beach has also been closed to the public by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to maintain public safety.

“The Ministry of Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal team has been requested and a cordon will remain in place until they dispose of it.”

PCSO Steve Hollands warned the public to stay away. He Tweeted: “Section of Western esplanade closed along to Shorefield Road due to unexploded WWII bomb. Please avoid.”