A FAKE bomb dug up on a York building site yesterday afternoon led to gridlock and chaos around the city.
Workmen building the new Park&Ride site at Askham Bar dug up the device shortly before 4pm, but this evening it has been identified as an "ornamental device designed to look like a bomb".
Army bomb disposal experts identified it as a fake shortly after arriving at the site, but not before the building site, York College and the Tesco superstore at Askham Bar had been evacuated.
Thousands of motorists faced disruption as Tadcaster Road was closed and buses diverted.
It turned out the device was an ornament made of wood and lead, with a brass tip, designed to look like a mortar bomb.
One site workman, who would not be named, said at least 20 workers had been evacuated from the site following the discovery.
He told The Press earlier: "We were excavating landfill and putting clay back in and found it in the landfill.
"It's not that big but it's a bomb, so we have all been told to get off the site. The whole site has been told it's not safe to stay on. I think police and the bomb squad are on their way."
The item was picked up by an excavator, carried across the site in a truck then dumped with other materials, at which point it was spotted and the alarm raised.
The Tesco supermarket at Askham Bar was closed and York College staff were evacuated, although the site was relatively quiet due to the Easter holidays.
No. 3 Park&Ride services could not access the site and First York said its No 12 buses could not service Tesco car park, and No 13 buses were diverted via Moor Lane, the A1237 and Copmanthorpe.
A spokesman said: "Traffic is therefore very busy in many other areas as people find alternative routes."
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "North Yorkshire Police were called at around 3.55pm after reports that workmen on the new Park and Ride site at Askham Bar had found what is believed to be an old world war mortar shell."
Sim Balk Lane was closed and the Askham Bar junction of the eastbound carriageway was also shut.