Video: Felixstowe bomb drama

BOMB disposal experts were called to Felixstowe beach after a metal detecting enthusiast unearthed a Second World War artillery shell.

BOMB disposal experts were called to Felixstowe beach after a metal detecting enthusiast unearthed a Second World War artillery shell casing.

A section of the beach was cordoned off by police and coastguard yesterday morning before a navy bomb disposal team arrived to remove the 18-inch device, found by Peter Baker, on the seafront near Mannings amusement park.

A carpenter by trade, Mr Baker is a regular visitor to the four mile stretch of beach and frequently turns up old bullet cartridges and small ammunition, but he was unprepared for what he discovered this weekend.

Mr Baker, from Cavendish Park, Felixstowe, said: “I came down here as I do every Sunday and found what looked like an old bomb from the war. I decided it was obviously some kind of projectile or ammunition and phoned the police straight away.

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“When they arrived they said it was a bit beyond their expertise and got in touch with the bomb squad.”

Mr Baker, who works for SEH French Construction in Ipswich, has been using his lightweight Tesoro metal detector for the last four years to expose no end of historic treasures on the beach. As well as the shell he found on Sunday, he had a pocket full of empty small calibre artillery shells.

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“I've always found small ammunition but never anything like this - and hopefully never will again,” he said. “It was hard to tell if it had actually been shot or not but it certainly hadn't hit its intended target.”

Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue Team established the shell had been defused but requested the assistance of a naval explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) team based in Hunstanton, Norfolk.

They took it away for examination, and later discovered it had no explosive in it - only the casing was found and it was considered to be a false alarm with good intent.

Even before that confirmation, the shell was not deemed dangerous enough to close the nearby Sunday market and the whole episode didn't cause as much disruption as when a bomb was dug up earlier this year by contractors building the resorts new sea defences.

Rescue officer Liam Sagi revealed that the bomb discovery was the third such incident he had been called to this year. He said: “Defused ordinance never used to be that common but since the replenishment of the sand on the beach findings like this one have become more frequent.

“There's not a lot we can do until EOD arrive. They ask us to cordon off the area, send them a photo of the shell and, depending on the tide, mark it so it doesn't wash away.”

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