A LIVE 18lb bomb packed with TNT was exploded off of Chalkwell after being spotted by a bait digger.

Southend Coastguard worked alongside the Army for two days to examine the device and work out the next steps.

The coastguard was called to reports of the suspected bomb on Wednesday.

Echo: The explosive device off ChalkwellThe explosive device off Chalkwell (Image: Southend Coastguard)

On Thursday Army explosives experts were taken to the site and a cordon was put in place.

A spokesman for the coastguard said: “Over the two days our teams inspected the suspected ordnance and worked with our Dover Coastguard coordination centre and the Army EOD.

“On Thursday our Army EOD colleagues attended who were escorted out to the site and it was quickly determined this was a ‘live’ 18lb bomb with TNT explosives inside originating from the years 1897 to 1947 so it could have been from the first or second world wars.

Echo: The coastguard and Army on site in ChalkwellThe coastguard and Army on site in Chalkwell (Image: Southend Coastguard)

“A cordon was put in place and the Army EOD team went to work to prepare to safely explode the device in situ, which all went to plan and was completely destroyed.

“We wound like to thank all members of the public for their cooperation and especially thank our Army EOD colleagues for their attendance.”

The coastguard has issued a reminder to the public about what to do if they come across a potential device.

The spokesman added: “Because these items can be so dangerous, if you ever see something suspicious or out of the ordinary on the beach or in the sea, do not touch it, move it or take it home.

“If you are unsure, let the experts decide if it is safe. Move to a safe space and call 999 and ask for the Coastguard so our teams can investigate.”