First World War shells found in London Colney garden

Floral Drive, London Colney

Floral Drive, London Colney - Credit: Archant

Bomb disposal experts and police swooped twice to a St Albans address after three First World War shells were unearthed in a garden by the homeowner.

Several homes were evacuated and cordons swiftly put in place in London Colney after an initial shell was discovered in the back garden of an address at Floral Drive at about 3pm on Tuesday (18).

The arrival of police and bomb disposal experts caused excitement within the sleepy village, with one local saying “they roared in with their sirens wailing”.

A bomb disposal team from Northolt Troop, 621 Squadron, 11 EOD Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, attended the call-out.

An Army spokesman explained that a local man had raised the alarm after finding a suspected shell while digging in his garden.

Upon inspection, Sgt Michael Miller found that it was a live First World War vintage 2lb high explosive shell.

The shell was recovered and taken to a nearby field where it was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

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The team was called back to the same address at 10.30am yesterday (Wednesday) after the homeowner found a further two suspected shells.

Sgt Miller found the items were First World War vintage solid training rounds but they did not contain any explosives.

They were recovered for safe disposal and the entire garden was checked. No more shells were found during the investigation and the all-clear was given at 1.05pm.

Sgt Miller said: “The person did exactly the right thing in calling the police as soon as they found the first shell and not moving it. Moving the shell away from surrounding houses and blowing it up was the safest thing to do in the circumstances as old ammunition can be quite unstable.

“I briefed him to be careful while doing any further digging and he rightly called us out again after finding additional suspect items.

“We would encourage people to call 999 if they do have concerns about any suspect item they find. It is better to be safe than sorry.”

The second cordon was lifted yesterday at about 1pm once it was clear there were no more shells.

A police spokeswoman said: “We had to make sure it was 100 per cent safe.”

London Colney resident Ken Peak said he had been surprised to see the bomb disposal unit and police “roar into the village” while he was walking his dog along the village green.