BOMB disposal experts were called to the River Thame over the weekend after a suspected First World War artillery shell was recovered by a magnet fisher.

The area close to Crendon Bridge in Thame was sealed off by police on Saturday with the army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit drafted into carry out a controlled explosion.

The item was found by retail worker Trevor Penny, 49, who had been magnet fishing at the time.

Mr Penny, from Thame, said: “We were there for around an hour and then pulled out a shell. We phoned the police and they put me on to live video link to the bomb squad.

Oxford Mail:

Oxford Mail:

"They stayed on the phone until the police arrived, then they sealed off the area. A couple of hours later, the bomb squad came in and I couldn’t get my magnet off the shell.

He continued: "They were there for about half an hour, and they came back with the magnet. They got off probably around an hour later, took it into the field a bit further and blew it up.

Mr Penny joked: "Pretty much the whole of Thame heard the explosion.”

Gareth Ford-Lloyd, media officer at Thames Valley Police, said: “We were called around 3pm on October 9 to Priest End, Thame. Officers attended. A cordon was put in place. MOD attended to carry out a controlled explosion later on that afternoon at around 6pm."

Oxford Mail:

Oxford Mail:

The practice of magnet fishing has soared in popularity in recent years, with thousands uploading videos of their finds to sites like YouTube and TikTok.

While the practice is legal, the Canal and River Trust said it disapproves of magnet fishing. The trust, which is responsible for most of the UK's canals, has bylaws prohibiting people from removing material from the waterways it owns.

While it rarely enforces these laws, a spokesman told the BBC they prefer for people to arrange organised events to ensure proper safety measures are in place.

Mr Penny said he has been magnet fishing for two years and had discovered a range of items.

According to Mr Penny, he and other hobbyists in the area have pulled out around eight tonnes of metal from the river so far.

In recent years, a number of historical items have been recovered around Oxfordshire. A World War Two shell was pulled out from the River Thames back in April and a First World War bomb was discovered at a building site in Towersey in 2019.