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‘Windows shook’ and shrapnel soared through street in homemade explosion

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:49 15 August 2020

Police are still present at Wignall Street in Lawford following the explosion last night Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Police are still present at Wignall Street in Lawford following the explosion last night Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Archant

Residents in Lawford were evacuated from their homes after a “frightening” explosion rocked the village – with the bang heard more than four miles away.

Bomb disposal experts at the scene in Lawford Picture: SOPHIE BARNETTBomb disposal experts at the scene in Lawford Picture: SOPHIE BARNETT

Emergency services and bomb disposal experts were dispatched to Lawford after the blast in Wignall Street at around 7pm last night.

MORE: Man arrested after explosion from ‘homemade device’ rocks village

Police have said it was not a terrorism incident and is understood to have been caused by a homemade explosive.

A 64-year-old man was arrested at the scene and remains in custody for questioning.

A man, who asked to remain anonymous, was walking behind the house in Lawford moments before the explosion went off.

He said: “Luckily we were heading away from the house so we didn’t actually see the explosion, but we felt it as the windows shook.

“We feel very lucky, as someone found shrapnel in the woods and there were several people in there.

“We then saw a pipe which had landed on a car and dented its roof about 300ft away.”

Police sealed off Wignall Street to Ogilvie Hall for some time while they dealt with the incident.

The MoD bomb disposal squad attended to search the area – including a property – with specialist teams and advise police co-ordinating the operation.

A neighbour said the noise was “frightening” and she was evacuated from her home for more than two hours.

Councillor Carlo Guglielmi, deputy leader of Tendring District Council, lives just 1/2 a mile away from where the explosion occurred.

He said it was “heard as far as Bradfield” by another member of the council and described the sound as “very loud”.

“It sounded like when a car backfires,” said Mr Guglielmi.

“It must have been very frightening for those who live nearby and I understand one of the neighbours cars was badly damaged.

“Just imagine if it was near a gas pipe, it really was a lucky escape.”

Mr Guglielmi said houses in the vicinity were evacuated by police as a precaution, but luckily no one was hurt.

“It was an experiment gone wrong, it was entirely accidental,” he said.

“I’m just pleased no one was injured.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were called shortly after 7.05pm today, Friday 14 August, with reports of an explosion in Wignall Street, Lawford.

“Emergency services attended and quickly established the cause was a homemade explosive device.

“Fortunately no-one was hurt and a 64-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property. He remains in custody for questioning.”

A cordon remains in place at the scene while investigations continue.


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