26th May, 2019

Evacuation follows ammo find

Worcester Editorial 14th Jan, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

RESIDENTS had to be evacuated from their normally quiet village homes when dozens of police officers descended on their neighbourhood and found chemicals and ammunition at a nearby house.

Police put a cordon in place around the detached property on Walwyn Road, Colwall, about midday Sunday (January 11) and people living within 100metres were asked to leave their homes while bomb disposal experts performed a controlled explosion.

The residents were allowed to return about 4pm when police declared the area had been made safe and there was no danger to the public.

A 49-year-old man from Worcester was arrested on suspicion of possessing prohibited ammunition without a firearms licence and has been released on bail until March 5 while tests on the substances found are being carried out.

Neighbours told the Observer of their surprise at the scenes which escalated over three days after police initially arrived at the property on Friday (January 9).

A controlled explosion also took place on Saturday (January 10) involving minor matter.

A police spokeswoman said the explosion on Sunday was bigger and involved more risk to residents which is why officers put the cordon in place and temporarily closed off Walwyn Road.

Peter Bamford, who lives two doors away, was one of those evacuated.

He said: “We were all just curious and surprised more than anything else for something like that to happen in a neighbourhood like this. We were told there was the potential for an explosion but the bomb squad were dealing with it.”

Jane Fanshawe, who lives further up Walwyn Road just outside of the cordon, was told to stay in her home on Sunday afternoon.

She said some villagers speculated that a Second World War bomb had been discovered.

“It was a bit like Hot Fuzz,” Jane said, “We didn’t know what was going to happen next.

“There were at least four police cars there on Saturday so we knew it must have been serious.

“I don’t think at any stage we were worried but when the road is closed it is a big feature in Colwall and we all just wanted to know what was going on.”

She added: “Nothing immediate or urgent was happening and it was a very calm and controlled situation. There wasn’t any panic.”

Police stressed it was a contained incident and nobody was injured at the time and there was nothing to suggest it was related to terrorist activity.

In total 36 officers including specialist search officers and members of the Safer Neighbourhood Team were involved alongside the Army. Firefighters also attended to provide advice on handling hazardous material.

Supt Sue Thomas added: “I’d like to thank local residents for their patience and understanding while we have dealt with this incident and can reassure them that, after thorough checks by experts, we are happy that the area is safe and there is no risk to the public.”

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