The last thing you would expect to find on a stroll while walking your dog is a unexploded bomb – but that is what happened to a family of five on Thursday.
Becki Coote, her husband Ken and three children Charlie, 9, Ollie, 7, and Max, 3, were walking across Roydon Common with their Rottweiler-cross-Doberman Diesal when the two eldest found a device.
Their discovery was later confirmed to be a Second World War-vintage two-inch mortar shell containing explosives, which was dealt with by a controlled explosion.
Mrs Coote, from Coldham near Wisbech, said: “We occasionally go to Roydon for a walk and we thought it would be a nice idea to go again with it being the final day of the school holidays.
“Normally there are quite a few walkers on the common, but on Thursday it was particularly quiet. The eldest two ran in front and started exploring before suddenly shouting ‘dad, dad, what’s this’, initially thinking it was a bottle top.
“They were really excited, but when my husband and myself looked we thought it was best to call the police.
“The item was about six to eight inches long and three inches wide. My husband stayed close to the scene while the rest of us moved away.
“My main concern at the time was the safety of the children.
“When the police officers turned up they cordoned off the area.”
A spoksperson for Norfolk Constabluary said: “We received a call at 11.34 on Thursday after a member of public found what was believed to be an unexploded mortar.
“A 100-metre cordon was put around the area and the EOD unit team at Colchester were called and attended the scene just after 3pm.”
An Army spokesman confirmed that a bomb disposal team from Colchester Troop, 621 Squadron, 11 EOD Regiment Royal Logistic Corps was called out to the scene, just after 1pm on Thursday.
“The alarm was raised after a walker found a suspected item of munitions. On inspection, it was found to be an Second World War-vintage two-inch mortar shell.
“It was destroyed in a controlled explosion after 4pm.
“The person did exactly the right thing in calling the police as soon as they found the item.
“We would encourage people to call 999 if they do have concerns about any suspect items they find and not to touch them. It is better to be safe than sorry.”