Bomb disposal unit leaves Letchworth town centre after finding 'old artillery shell' to be non-explosive metal slug

PUBLISHED: 12:44 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:12 10 May 2017

The police cordon in Letchworth, where a bomb disposal unit dealt with what was thought to be an old artillery shell. Picture: Robert Thompson

The police cordon in Letchworth, where a bomb disposal unit dealt with what was thought to be an old artillery shell. Picture: Robert Thompson

Archant

Bomb disposal experts who rushed to Letchworth town centre have now left the scene after deeming an artillery projectile found this morning to be safe.

The bomb disposal team from the Royal Logistics Corps at the scene today. Picture: Howard Cottage Housing AssociationThe bomb disposal team from the Royal Logistics Corps at the scene today. Picture: Howard Cottage Housing Association

The old ordnance, found by a man doing some gardening, was initially thought to be an explosive shell – but was confirmed by a police spokeswoman to be a non-explosive solid metal slug, which would have been fired from an artillery piece using separate explosives.

A police cordon went up at Howard Cottage Housing Association in Norton Way North after the man who found the hulk of metal took it to the housing association offices in a bag.

Staff there called police at about 9.50am, and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit was duly summoned.

A housing association spokesman told the Comet at 11.25am that the bomb disposal team had arrived and were getting to grips with what was then still thought to be a shell.

Police confirmed about an hour later that officers were leaving the scene.

Housing association chief executive John Welch said this afternoon: “This morning one of our residents arrived at our head office in Norton Way North with a bag containing an object that he’d dug up in his garden. He told us he believed it was an old artillery shell.

“We took action immediately by placing the shell in the car park, away from nearby buildings and people. We alerted the police, who were on site within a matter of minutes and cordoned off the area.

“The bomb disposal unit arrived around 45 minutes later, and after careful inspection they confirmed that the object came from an explosive device used in one of the world wars.

“Fortunately, tests revealed that it did not contain any explosive materials so we were given the all clear.”

He added: “It’s not something we get every day of the week!”

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