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Padstow fisherman's beach shell find ends with bomb squad visit

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 09, 2014

  • SNIFFING: Millie uncovered a 1915 gun shell on St George's Well beach.

  • THE SHELL SEEKERS: Fisherman Jason Nicholas was a little surprised after Millie dug up a 12-inch-long shell on the beach at St George's Well.

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WHEN Padstow fisherman Jason Nicholas went for a walk on the beach with his dog he didn't expect it to end with a visit from the bomb squad.

Strolling along St George's Well beach last Monday his Jack Russell terrier, Millie, began digging in the sand – and unearthed a 12-inch-long shell dating from the First World War.

Mr Nicholas, 41, picked up the shell before taking it home, as he didn't want it to end up in the wrong hands, before contacting the authorities.

"Millie was just swanning around like she usually does and then began digging at something, and when I saw what she dug up I knew it was a shell," Mr Nicholas said. "Someone may have tried to get rid of it, because it was very clean and well preserved, but I took it home because I didn't want it to end up in the wrong hands; you don't want kids to pick it up on the beach and start throwing it around."

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After giving the shell a wipe Mr Nicholas saw an inscription with a date, 1915, and realised it came from the Great War.

He then contacted the bomb disposal authorities but was told they were unable to do anything about it at the moment.

Instead he took it away in a bag before taking it to Padstow's harbour office. "When I got to the office we then called the police, who then contacted the bomb disposal team who took it away," he said.

"There seems to be a story going around that I was walking around with this bomb and took it inside the house, but that was blown out of proportion a little."

Mr Nicholas, who served for 14 years on the Padstow lifeboat, was told by disposal experts that the shell would not be activated easily, but said he didn't want to take the chance.

"The experts told me it would take a lot for it to go off and that it could probably only be activated by a disposal team, but you still don't want it ending up in the wrong hands, especially children's," he said.

Mr Nicholas is yet to hear from the experts at the Ministry of Defence about what type of shell it was, but after initial examination was told it could be of German manufacture.

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