A POPULAR beach was evacuated by police and coastguards following the discovery of unexploded shells which it is thought date back to the Second World War.

A member of the public called emergency services after spotting around six shells, which it is thought must have been uncovered by the outgoing tide, on the beach at Bell Wharf beach, Old Leigh, at around 2.30pm on Friday (Jan 20).

Around seven coastguards and two police officers cordoned off the surrounding area until the following morning, when a crack squad from the Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Unit arrived from Portsmouth.

They transported the shells around a mile offshore and destroyed them through a series of controlled explosions around 11.40am.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were contacted shortly before 2.30pm on Friday following reports that several unexploded shells had been found on the beach. We put up a cordon and contacted the armed forces for help.”

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