Bomb alert

Bethesda Church on Grasmere Road in Blackpool ,scene of a bomb scare during renovations when an unexploded WW2 bomb was discovered.
Bethesda Church on Grasmere Road in Blackpool ,scene of a bomb scare during renovations when an unexploded WW2 bomb was discovered.
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Shock as war mortar shell is found at disused church

Neighbours today told of their shock after bomb disposal experts were called when a Second World War mortar shell was uncovered on a building site.

The unit was called to Bethesda Church, Grasmere Road, Blackpool, after stunned site workers involved in a project to convert the building into flats made the discovery during building work. The site was immediately evacuated as the unit was called.

But experts were able to safely remove it after determining that the shell had previously detonated and was no longer a threat.

One neighbour described how they were in the dark about the find as police and fire engines arrived on the street.

The disposal team was called out after Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service

received the report of the find at around 12.10pm on Friday.

One neighbour, Dale Cunningham, of Grasmere Road, was shocked to hear of the

discovery.

He said: “I don’t think anyone really second questioned all the cars, we see a lot of that.

“I saw a little commotion around the church but nothing that would make you think there was a bomb being removed.”

Dawn Firth, of Lune Grove said: “I just saw lots of vans outside the church, the police were here and the fire brigade.

“After a while I saw another set of vans arrive with lots of men rushing in and out of the building.

“I don’t think anyone on the street has any idea what happened, there’s always something going on around here. I would have loved to have seen the reaction of the person who found it.

“It’s amazing that something like that can be sitting there on just down the street from where you live and for you to know nothing about it.”

A contractor from the building site, who wished not to be named, confirmed that one of the site workers made the find.

Building and excavation work is currently ongoing at the church, which is to be converted into flats.

A police spokesman confirmed that the bomb disposal unit was quickly able to identify the shell had “discharged” previously and there was no threat to the public.

He said: “The EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal team) found the shelling of a discharged mortar shell from the Second World War on Friday afternoon.

“The unit were quickly able to attain that the mortar shell was not of any danger to the public.” The bomb disposal unit carried out the removal swiftly and the shell has now been destroyed.

Plans to convert the church into flats were given the go-ahead last August, despite objections from some residents.