Caption: George Peniston-Bird, 9, who found a live WW2 bomb in his garden in Yarcombe, Devon (Picture: BPM MEDIA)
A mum couldn’t quite believe it when her nine-year-old son told her he’d found an unexploded World War II grenade in their garden.
George Peniston-Bird from Yarcombe, East Devon was ‘very excited’ to stumble across what looked like a small explosive while he was looking for bones.
His mum Céline Peniston-Bird admits she was still ‘bleary-eyed’ when George came running into the bedroom yesterday to tell her about his discovery.
Céline told DevonLive: ‘I was absolutely sparko [half asleep] after a really late night and he came running into the bedroom and was like “You’ve got to wake up, I’ve found a grenade!”
‘And I went, “Oh yeah absolutely, I’m sure you have, that’s fantastic, why don’t you go and take a picture of it,” like all mothers do and thought, “That’s just going to be a bit of rubbish”.
‘He ran back in the house with his iPad, thrust it in my face and I was so half asleep and said, “Oh… that might actually be a grenade.”‘
She rang 101 and said she felt awkward at first, thinking it was probably nothing too dangerous but the operator quickly put her through to 999.
Having explained the situation to 999, police arrived at their home around 20 minutes later.
The unexploded grenade (BPM MEDIA)
The officers said that it did indeed appear to be a grenade and called in the bomb disposal squad.
She said the Plymouth squadron were busy in Cornwall, so the 721 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps came all the way from Tidworth Camp in Wiltshire to investigate.
They took an X-ray of the grenade to see if it was live, and it was. Police have since described it as a ‘unexploded World War II grenade’.
The grenade was safely detonated in a nearby field, and according to Céline, sent mud flying over a hedge.
She said George had been looking for bones when he came across the grenade.
‘He absolutely loves bones and he’d gone out looking for bones and he was looking along the edge of a wall on the ground in the orchard.
‘As he was walking along, he tripped over and went to stand back up and like a metre in front of him he’d gone, “Oh, that’s really cool.”‘
George enjoyed meeting the local police officers and sitting in their car (Pictures: BPM MEDIA)
Céline said the discovery and the visit from the police and bomb squad was very exciting for George.
‘My own afternoon didn’t go quite to plan but his was brilliant, he loved it. He got to sit in a police car and everything.
‘He’s gutted ’cause he’s already on school holiday so he’s like, “I can’t even go to school and tell everyone.”‘
Rural East Devon Police wrote on Facebook: ‘It’s been an explosive afternoon for our colleagues at Rural East Devon Response.
‘Nine-year-old George found this unexploded World War II grenade in his garden which was later confirmed to have been live.
‘Sgt Bacon and PC Driver from Honiton Police Station attended the scene where the grenade was safely detonated in a controlled explosion by colleagues from 721 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps, based at Tidworth Camp.’
The post said it was ‘surprisingly common’ to find old explosives in Devon and Cornwall.
They tend to either turn up on the seashore or in the home of someone who has kept it as a keepsake.
The Facebook post continued: ‘Only last week in Colyton our officers from Seaton Neighbourhood Policing Team attended a similar report, with the grenade being detonated safely in a field behind the property.
‘They say these things come in threes! As we type this update, Sgt Bacon and PC Driver are on scene at a property in Beer to deal with yet another grenade that’s been located. This time, it’s sailors from Bravo Diving Unit One at HM Naval Base Devonport who are on route to assist with the disposal.
‘If you find anything like this in your garden or home, try to remain calm and clear everyone away from the immediate area. Call us on 999 from a safe distance away from the item and be prepared to go and let your neighbours know until help arrives.’
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‘I rang 101 and was like, “Hi, really awkward, I think my son’s found a grenade.”‘