Bomb squad called in after live WW1 explosive donated to charity shop

A controlled detonation of the artillery shell which was donated to a Norfolk charity

A controlled detonation of the artillery shell which was donated to a Norfolk charity - Credit: Contributed

A charity shop was evacuated and the bomb squad called in after a live First World War explosive was found in a batch of donations.

Emergency services swarmed the Priscilla Bacon Hospice retail warehouse in Drayton on Thursday after a shocked volunteer discovered the explosive item while sorting through a donated batch of First World War memorabilia.

The warehouse was immediately evacuated with the 15 staff rushed outside to safety.

A bomb squad and police were called to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Retail Warehouse in Drayton on Thursday 

A bomb squad and police were called to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice retail warehouse in Drayton on Thursday - Credit: Priscilla Bacon Hospice

The junction of Low Road and Hospital Lane in Hellesdon was also closed off by police after the alarming discovery which was later revealed to be live.

The revelation came about after the volunteer found the unusual item and passed it to the charity's eBay retail team who sell specialist items for Priscilla Bacon.

The World War One artillery shell which was donated to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Retail Warehouse in Drayton

The First World War artillery shell which was donated to the Priscilla Bacon Hospice retail warehouse in Drayton - Credit: Priscilla Bacon Hospice

During the team's research an image of the item was shared with a militaria specialist.

The expert responded with an urgent message to the charity stating the item was a fuse section from an artillery shell.

They added it appeared to be a live explosive and could be potentially volatile as it was more than 100 years old.

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The scale of the subsequent controlled explosion indicated that the shell had been live.

Low Road, between Hellesdon and Drayton, was cordoned off after an unexploded bomb was discovered.

Low Road, between Hellesdon and Drayton, was cordoned off after an unexploded bomb was discovered - Credit: Submitted

“Our primary concern was to evacuate our staff and volunteers from the warehouse, along with making sure that neighbouring properties would also be safe”, said Jordan Codling, retail business manager for the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Charity.

“We immediately informed the emergency services and police officers were dispatched from Taverham Police Station.

"Upon arrival, the police cordoned off the area and subsequently closed the Low Road pending the arrival of the Ministry of Defence Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team who were blue lighted from Colchester.”

The bomb squad undertook x-ray analysis of the artillery shell, which proved inconclusive as it appeared not to be of British origin.

They elected to transport the shell to a farmer’s field in Low Road for detonation.

Mr Codling continued: "We are incredibly grateful to the police and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team for their swift actions to make safe this artillery shell." 

The Drayton warehouse is open between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday. 

The charity is continuing to raise the final £2.2 million necessary to complete build a new Priscilla Bacon adjacent to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Donate at www.priscillabaconhospice.org.uk/donate.