UNEXPLODED shells, thought to be from the Second World War, were detonated yesterday after being unearthed in a scrapyard.
They were discovered in a container at the LC Hughes scrap metal yard in London Road, Bicester, by John Clayton who was collecting scrap for a charity challenge.
The 38-year-old rally driver, who is a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF and deals with branch operation support, initially came across one of the shells on Tuesday afternoon before going on to find about 20 others.
He said: “I was pretty shocked to see the shell – I knew there was nothing else it could be.
“I knew that if it was unstable it could blow us all sky high. It was unbelievable.”
The Bicester resident added: “I was there with the Round Table for a scrapheap challenge-type thing, and we had to make a catapult.
“We decided it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to practise with a shell.”
They then informed Gareth Hughes, the co-owner of the family-run yard, who called the police.
Thames Valley Police yesterday said they had informed the Army’s bomb disposal squad who detonated the shells yesterday afternoon.
Mr Hughes said: “John found one and then we had a look around and found a load more.
“They were in some pallets – I don’t know how long they have been there, since my grandad’s time I would guess.
“We used to have a contract with the MoD to scrap their stuff years ago, so it may have come from them.”
The 34-year-old from Bicester added: “I’m not sure what kind of bombs they are, maybe IEDs (improvised explosive devices). They looked like a funnel.
“I don’t think they were live, I think they were blowing them up as a precaution.”
He said the bomb disposal unit had removed the devices and then blown them up in a controlled explosion yesterday.
LC Hughes’ yard manager Tony Hughes next to the hole created by the controlled explosion
The area was cordoned off overnight on Tuesday but the area was not cleared.
A police spokeswoman said: “We were called just after 4pm on Tuesday after reports of suspected explosive devices found at a scrapyard in London Road. It is thought these may be Second World War devices.
“We secured the scene and put up a cordon and called the Army’s bomb disposal squad.
“A detonation site was arranged in a nearby field.”
The police were unable to say why they were left overnight instead saying it was a matter for the Army.
The Ministry of Defence referred the Oxford Mail back to the police.
An unexploded Second World War shell was found in a garden in Green Road, Kidlington, in January.
Janet Moores discovered the device when she was planting an apricot tree.
The 71-year-old initially threw it to one side before realising it was something more dangerous.
It was later blown up in a controlled explosion by an RAF bomb disposal unit from RAF Northolt, near London.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
10:13pm Tuesday 31st March 2015
THE northbound carriageway of the A34 has reopened in the past 45 minutes after last night's lorry fire.
12:00am Wednesday 1st April 2015
COLLECTORS and car park enthusiasts will have an opportunity to buy a piece of a muchloved Oxford landmark.
8:00am Tuesday 31st March 2015
NICOLA Blackwood has revealed she has been battling with a genetic condition for years but believes it has not affected her performance as a politician.
6:56pm Tuesday 31st March 2015
Arcade game aficionados will be in heaven as Google has enabled people to play Pacman around the streets of Oxford.
1:27pm Tuesday 31st March 2015
TWO people appeared at Oxford Magistrates' Court today following a series of dawn raids by police investigating slavery allegations.