Bomb discovered in hospital grounds

PUBLISHED: 17:54 18 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 11 May 2010

AN unexploded Second World War bomb has been found by a gardener. And the discovery caused a full-scale alert at Kneesworth House hospital, in Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth yesterday (Thursday). A cordon was set up around the grounds and staff and patients

AN unexploded Second World War bomb has been found by a gardener.

And the discovery caused a full-scale alert at Kneesworth House hospital, in Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth yesterday (Thursday).

A cordon was set up around the grounds and staff and patients were evacuated after the gardener found the shell while planting a tree.

Wendy Dare, who was attending a meeting at the hospital at the time, said: "We were told that a bomb had been found in the gardens and the gardener had been taking it around in his wheelbarrow for sometime.

"We were told that he had even hit it with his spade."

After the shell had been taken back to a workshop it was placed in a trailer outside and the police were called.

A spokesman for Partnerships in Care, which runs the hospital, said: "The police cordoned off 100 metres from the trailer and evacuated Wortham ward to another area of the hospital.

"Local residents were warned to stay out of their back gardens."

Cambridgeshire police confirmed that they were called to the grounds "following the discovery of what was thought to be an old military device".

A picture of the shell was sent to a bomb disposal team and at about 4.30pm a team from the 33 Engineer Explosive Ordinance Disposal Regiment at Carver Barracks in Saffron Walden arrived at the hospital.

The team increased the cordon and evacuated Nightingale ward before identifying the shell as a small Second World War airborne bomb.

The shell was moved onto fields away from the wards at 8pm where it was placed in the ground and surrounded by sandbags before being detonated by a controlled explosion.

A recruitment evening due to be held at the hospital that evening was cancelled.

Mike Bennett, regional executive director for Partnerships in Care, who was present throughout, said the staff and patients were "very co-operative and assisting in the smooth evacuation".

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