FEARS have been raised for swimmers’ safety – with more than 250 unexploded bombs being uncovered on the Southend foreshore in five years.

A high-explosive shell found by a bait digger near Bell Wharf, Leigh, on Tuesday was the latest in a long line of wartime finds which prompted a call to bomb disposal experts.

The Royal Navy Ordnance Disposal Team has been called to 279 items of ordnance around Southend since 2008, ranging from anti-aircraft shells to an anti-submarine warfare mortar, an Echo freedom of information request has revealed.

While no one had been hurt so far, Leigh Lib Dem councillor Peter Wexman said the shells remained a potential threat to bathers.

He added: “I’m horrified. The danger is children blowing their fingers and hands off.

“I’m worried about the casualties there could be on the foreshore.”