More than 1,000 evacuated after WW2-era bomb discovered at Plymouth home during garden building work

21 February 2024, 14:56 | Updated: 21 February 2024, 19:24

A cordon has been put up across Keyham in Plymouth after a WW2-era bomb was found
A cordon has been put up across Keyham in Plymouth after a WW2-era bomb was found. Picture: LBC

By Will Taylor

More than 1,000 people have been forced to leave home after a bomb, believed to be from the Second World War, was discovered in Plymouth.

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A major incident has been in place in the Keyham area since Tuesday after the explosive was found at a home on St Michael Avenue.

The homeowner's father and a builder dug up enough of the back garden to see it was a bomb, which triggered a mass evacuation.

It is thought some 1,200 people have had to evacuate and LBC understands they face having to stay away for two days.

A cordon has cut off the area and is set to cover more homes as specialists including Royal Navy bomb disposal units deploy.

Local news reports thousands of tonnes of sand are set to be bagged up in a wall around the explosive as experts get to work.

Plymouth City Council said: "The cordon will be extended in the coming days, as ordnance disposal experts begin to work to make the unexploded wartime device safe, which we acknowledge will have significant impact.

"Further information will be shared when it is confirmed.

Read more: Lidl warehouse worker who plotted 'revenge' school massacre and gun and bomb attack on police HQ jailed for life

"Residents who feel the need to collect pets or medicine are advised to approach police officers at the cordon."

A nearby library and community centres have been opened up for people who have been displaced.

Some have stayed in hotels while they wait for experts to deal with the bomb.

Kayja Cullen had to stay in a Travelodge after leaving her home.

"There was lots of tossing and turning and worrying about what's going to happen today," she said. She is hoping police can get their rabbits out of the cordon.

Devon and Cornwall Police's Ch Supt Matt Longman said: "All the agencies are working together to keep people safe.

"It's about analysing the safest and least disruptive way of dealing with it. This is low risk."

Bomb discoveries are one of the most dangerous legacies of the war.

Last year, a device found near gas pipes in Great Yarmouth exploded in an "unplanned" detonation after a three-day cordon was put in place.

Specialists had been cutting the bomb with a slow burn technique.

Footage caught the moment a huge explosion went off as the 250kg ordnance blew up. Nobody was hurt.

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