Boss’s shock as Wartime bomb found in drain

A Second World War mortar shell found in the drain at Bethesda Church, on Grasmere Road
A Second World War mortar shell found in the drain at Bethesda Church, on Grasmere Road
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The owner of a drainage company has spoken of his surprise after finding an artillery shell.

Steven Hastings, 25, had the shock of his life last Friday when he stumbled upon the Second World War bomb while cleaning out the drains at Bethesda Church on Grasmere Road, Blackpool.

Mr Hastings said: “It was a real shock!

“It’s not something you expect to come across in everyday life.”

Mr Hastings spoke of his amazement in discovering the munition.

He said: “As we were going down this drain, it was full to the top.

“First we picked out heroin needles and spoons then some sewage debris and finally we felt a really heavy object at the bottom.

“At first we could not get it out, so we were really heavy handed in efforts to pull it out.”

The 25-year-old from Bispham who was with two fellow workers from Blackpool firm J&F Drainage spoke about how they laughed and joked when it was first pulled out. “Initially we didn’t think much of it but after closer inspection we thought we better call the police.

“The officer I spoke to said he had never had a call like this and had no idea what to do himself.”

Not long after Mr Hastings’ call, armed response officers from Preston arrived.

Mr Hastings said: “They picked up the shell without much concern but put it down very gingerly, once they had a good look at it, took two steps back and told us we needed to evacuate the site immediately.

“The armed response team told us if the bomb was that heavy it must be live.

“They said we had been really lucky when we were banging and pulling it out of the drain.”

In the end, a bomb disposal team had to be called out to survey the shell as the colour coding of it was eroded after decades in the drain.

Bomb disposal officers took the antique explosive away to be destroyed in a controlled explosion. “I guess in the end, I’ve had a lucky escape. It’s definitely something I won’t forget in a hurry,” Mr Hastings added.