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Bomb in sand triggers alert

PUBLISHED: 16:15 18 August 2011 | UPDATED: 16:26 18 August 2011

Phosphorus shell discovered on a building site in Martin De Rye Way in Caister.

Phosphorus shell discovered on a building site in Martin De Rye Way in Caister.

A CAISTER street was sealed off and residents evacuated when a builder discovered a 12ins long shell on a building site.

Gary Carruthers was working on a new housing estate when his digging revealed the phosphorus shell, which had arrived in a delivery of sand.

After at first being unable to believe what he saw, the 59-year-old called the police at 2.25pm on Monday, who cordoned off the road and moved neighbouring residents to a safe distance.

Meanwhile, a bomb disposal unit from Colchester rushed to the scene on Martin De Rye Way, off West Road.

The explosive device was carefully assessed by the experts who discovered it had already been detonated – but it was a scary moment for the builders and caused confusion for villagers.

Mr Carruthers, of Winterton, who works for building firm VC Denton and Sons, said: “We had just began to move the sand with our shovels when the shell appeared. At first, I didn’t know what to do – I wasn’t even sure whether to breathe or not.

“When the bomb disposal team arrived they were really relaxed about it, but I suppose they just get used to it.

“However, for me and the rest of the team, it was a different story – we were quite worried.”

Police left the building site at 5.15pm and the road was re-opened to residents and traffic.

One resident, Carol Lambert, described how she had rushed home from work when she received a call from the site foreman telling her the bomb had been discovered.

The office manager at Northgate Hospital, Great Yarmouth, who lives two houses away from where the shell was found, said: “I got a call telling me about what had happened so I quickly made my way back to the house.

“I was quite worried because my son was still in bed at the time and I needed to wake him up to make sure he was okay.”

The delivery of sand came from Yarmouth harbour mouth which had been dredged during the construction of the Outer Harbour.

Fellow builder Richard Steward said: “The shell still had the nose cone on front so it looked like it hadn’t been detonated.

“The police were very good, We called them and before I had a chance to get off the phone they were already here.

“News about what was happening seemed to spread very quickly. I had never seen so many cars down West Road - until we found the shell.”

Builders at a site near Lowestoft discovered three cannonballs in a delivery of sand taken from the outer harbour earlier this year. One was later sold on eBay for £90.

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