10:00am Friday 24th February 2012
By James Tourgout
AN OLD fishing weight sparked a bomb scare when part of Lyme Regis beach and the Cobb were sealed off.
Police set up a security cordon when two children found a suspected anti-tank mine near the Cobb while dredging work was being carried out.
The device was handed to firefighters and charter boat bosses at the harbourside before the bomb disposal squad from Plymouth swooped on the area.
But the device, measuring about eight inches across, was later found to be a weight used by fishermen.
PC Richard Winward said: “It was thought that it had been dredged to the surface as dredging work was being done.
“The item was circular and about eight inches in diameter.
“It was very rusty.”
PC Winward said that the Explosive Ordnance Disposal office in Plymouth was contacted. He added: “Meanwhile, a cordon was put on around the item.
“The bomb disposal people attended and felt that the item was ordnance.
“However, a short time later it was discovered that it was a weight used by fishing boats.
“This incident obviously caused inconvenience to locals and customers in the local pubs, but the precaution of evacuation had to take place.”
The drama unfolded just after 3pm on February 14.
Portland Coastguard and Lyme Regis firefighters were also involved in the operation.
Volunteer Lyme Regis Coastguard Rescue Officers were also sent to the harbour area to help Dorset Police during the alert.
Lyme Regis fire station chief Virgil Turner said he was at the scene when the two youngsters brought the suspected explosive to the slipway.
Mr Turner and charter boat bosses raised the alarm with police who sealed off the beach with a 200metre exclusion zone.
He said that the bomb squad advised them to treat it as if it were a mine.
Mr Turner said: “They arrived and they had a look and thought that it was.
“They got some tools and chipped off some of the rust and said that it was a fishing weight.”
He added: “It is better to be safe than sorry.”
“The odd bit of ordnance has been brought up before so the likelihood was that it was possible.”
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