UK

Second World War bomb that forced thousands to evacuate in Plymouth detonated at sea

An unexploded bomb from the Second World War which forced thousands to evacuate their homes in Plymouth has been detonated at sea.

Around 30 of the Armed Forces’ most experienced bomb disposal experts led the “highly complex disposal operation” on Friday after the 500kg bomb was discovered on Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

Police had been called to a property in St Michael Avenue in the Keyham area of Plymouth after the device was unearthed by a man digging out foundations for an extension to his property.

A 300-metre cordon was then put in place around the site, affecting 1,219 properties and an estimated 3,250 people – making it one of the largest evacuation operations since the end of the Second World War.

Read all of our coverage on the Second World War bomb here

The device was detonated at 21.51pm, the MoD said.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps praised the “bravery and fortitude” of personnel involved in the “highly complex operation” and the “patience and cooperation” of members of the public.

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He said: “I would like to express my thanks to all our personnel involved in this highly complex operation, who worked both night and day this week to keep the public safe and minimise the risk of damage, as well as the public for their patience and cooperation.

“The success of this operation is testament to the level of skill and expertise across our Armed Forces, as well as the bravery and fortitude of our personnel when faced with high-risk situations and working under extreme pressure.”

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