Controlled explosion on World War II shell

A controlled explosion was carried out in the grounds of a Polegate home on Sunday (June 16) after metal detectives stumbled across a live World War Two shell.

Home owner, Ian Casselden invited a team of metal detectorists to explore a field in the grounds of his house because of archaeological interest in the site which held a fair in the 1100s.

But the team got more than they bargained for when they made the explosive discovery.

Mr Casselden said: “Some friends of ours had been asking to use their metal detectors because it is a very old place and a fair was held here. They thought they might find quite a lot of coins from it. I went up there to see how they were doing. And they showed me the bomb. At first they didn’t know what it was.

“But when it became apparent they called the police. It turned out it was a anti-aircraft shell. It was an 18 pounder and they had dug it up.”

Police were called to the field at 9.35am where they cordoned off the area. Bomb disposal experts from Folkestone then moved in.

They carried out a controlled explosion at the scene to make the device safe.

And Mr Casselden’s 13-year-old daughter got a treat when she was chosen to press the button to detonate the device.

Mr Casselden continued: “The bomb disposal team came along about two hours later. They asked who would like to push the button and my daughter Rebecca said she wanted too.

“They had dug a hole out and strapped some detonaters to the shell.

“It was a very big bang. It was really quite satisfying!

“It blew about a wheel barrel full of mud out of the ground.

“The shell was not something that had been dropped from the skies. It would have been fired out of a pump, but for some reason it did not explode at the time.

“The bomb disposal team and the police were absolutely brilliant.

“They were handling it in a way which suggested it would not have gone off which was reassuring but it was in the grass and I do mow the grass there. It does make you think.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said the scene was made safe at around 1.45pm.

The spokesman said: “A cordon was put round the immediate area while a Military Ordnance Disposal team from Folkestone attended. They carried out a controlled explosion, making the device safe.”

Mr Casselden said the metal detectors also found a silver sixpence coin.

He added: “It was all a bit of excitement for a Sunday morning!”