Updated: A BUSY road was closed and residents and school-pupils told to stay indoors, after an explosive was found at a building site in York.
A large section of Hull Road was closed by police yesterday afternoon as army bomb disposal experts from Catterick examined and removed the explosive, believed by North Yorkshire Police to be a naval shell. The device was dug up at about 1pm yesterday at the former dairy on Hull Road, where student accommodation is being built.
Workman Jim Lee, 30, who unearthed the device in his digger, said: “I dug it up in the bucket. I saw it in there but didn’t know straight away what it was. I put the load down and two of us had a look at it and then we got two others to have a look at it. The foreman called the police and then the site was evacuated.”
Speaking from behind the police cordon, Mr Lee said he wasn’t worried the device would explode, but said he was “glad not to be sitting next to it anymore.”
Stuart Palin, another workman at the site, said: “You could see about 18 inches of it sticking out of the ground and you could see the domed end of it, like something from the Second World War.”
The shell was later taken to Imphal barracks in Fulford where it was destroyed in a controlled explosion.
Residents on Hull Road were urged to remain indoors following the discovery and the road remained closed for about two hours. Pupils at St Lawrence’s CE Primary School, which backs on to the site, were also told to stay indoors.
Shortly after the find, a worker at Harpers fish and chip shop, on Hull Road, told The Press: “We have been made to shut up shop and nobody has been allowed in to the area.
“There are loads of fire engines and police cars and we have been told that they are waiting for the bomb disposal unit to turn up – but that could take as long as three hours.”
Police said the device was believed to be a naval shell, but mystery surrounds how it came to be 40 miles from the coast.
Nick Hill, director of Eden Camp military museum near Pickering, said a naval shell could not have travelled as far as York from the east coast.
He said:”If it had been an aerial bomb, it would have caused a lot more inconvenience.
“Whoever found the bomb has done the right thing by contacting people. It might have been a souvenir but you can never be too safe with these things.”
Hugh Murray, a York historian and author, said the only record of Hull Road being targeted during the Second World War was an incendiary attack on the evening of January 2, 1941.
He said: “They dropped them in a line starting at St Margaret’s in Walmgate then down Hull Road. Lazenby’s garage in Hull Road was hit and a joinery shop further along.”