Gloucestershire Police error leads to bomb being taken back to Kingswood
PART of Kingswood village was evacuated and the main road closed for almost two hours last week – an hour after the World War Two bomb had originally been removed.
A police officer took the unexploded shell away to the boot of his car after arriving at the property in Wickwar Road just before 6pm last Thursday.
Afterwards Karen Bailey, who is renovating the house and discovered the ordnance, went back to her home in Hillesley Road, thinking the issue was settled.
However the policeman was then told to take the shell back to the garden and at around 7pm a bomb disposal truck from the Royal Logistic Corps arrived and, with the help of police officers, cordoned off the road and evacuated nearby houses.
Around six families in the area were moved, including a 98-year-old woman in a wheelchair, and were sent to the town hall for around an hour-and-a-half.
"I didn't know they had closed the road until somebody told me about it the next day," said Mrs Bailey.
"They were willing to risk a young man's life. They should have redirected the bomb squad to the police station rather than take it back and evacuate everybody. How ridiculous is that? It's like a Carry On film."
Housewife Emma Butcher was evacuated with her husband John and their three children Bethany, 12, Finley, nine, and Melody, two, from Wickwar Road.
"It’s quite bizarre," she said. "We were all laughing about it to start with but it could have been far more serious.
"I wish they hadn’t brought it back into the neighbourhood with my small children about. What if it had gone off in the policeman's car?"
Mrs Bailey had discovered the ordnance on the front doorstep of the property five weeks ago on her first visit after buying the house.
She contacted a friend who collected military shells and he believed it was safe so she kept it in the garden, but one of her contractors working on the house insisted she rang the police and she did so at around 3.30pm.
The former medical photographer said because of a road traffic collision just before 4pm the police informed her that her issue was going to be delayed.
At 5.45pm she rang again and said that at 5.55pm a policeman came, put the shell in the boot of his car and drove away.
A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said: "On first inspection it was believed not to be dangerous, however on further analysis we believed that it could have been a risk to the public.
"Bomb disposal experts were called and the shell was removed from the scene and safely destroyed."