AN EXPLOSION rocked a small North Yorkshire village as the Army detonated explosives found at a rural property.
Homes were evacuated and a 200-metre cordon around the property in Barlow, near Selby, after suspected explosive material were found in an outbuilding on Tuesday morning.
Andy Hiles, a former parish councillor, lives in the house opposite where the explosives were found, and was made aware of the incident by police officers early on Tuesday.
He said: "They said there were some suspected explosive devices found in the outbuildings around the smallholding which had been reported by the new owner.
"The place has been empty for about a year, as the old guy who owned it died. The new owners took possession of it this week, they are just starting to clear it up. Police advised us to leave, then about half an hour later they insisted we went.
"We understand there's been some sticks of dynamite found which they let off with a huge explosion. We were half a mile away and we could hear it quite clearly, it was definitely a big bang."
A police spokesman said the material was found to be explosive, "looking like sticks of dynamite", but could not confirm exactly what the material was.
A number of residents were told they would not be able to return to their homes on Tuesday night, and North Yorkshire County Council made arrangements to accommodate them overnight while searches of the property took place.
Roy Timmins, who lives in neighbouring Barlow Common Road, said the explosives could have been left over from the area's historical sites.
He said: "There used to be a big Army camp here in the Second World War, and there was a railway line which closed a long time ago. They used it to bring bomb damage from Hull and dump it in Barlow Common.
"Someone we know just sent me a text saying there were police all over the place outside our house, apparently there's a bomb somewhere and that's all we knew. We thought we'd come and ask someone in the know, the policeman at the cordon, who said there's no danger to anyone here."
On Wednesday morning, North Yorkshire Police tweeted: "We have now completed our searches in the area where explosive material was found yesterday in Barlow. Thanks to everyone for your patience."