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Live WWII grenade detonated in a field in Warrington





  • Two men searching for artefacts using magnets found a WWII grenade
  • Martyn Jones, 34, and Karl McDonald, 30, discovered the '36 Mills' in the Mersey
  • The pair had been using magnets to search for coins and metals
  • They carried the device through Warrington town centre to a field to detonate

By Rod Ardehali For Mailonline

Published: 14:47 EDT, 20 March 2017 | Updated: 16:04 EDT, 20 March 2017

Two unsuspecting metal detectorists had an explosive day out after hooking a live Second World War grenade and detonating it in a field.

Martyn Jones, 24, Karl McDonald, 30, were blown away when they pulled a 36 Mills grenade from the Mersey river in Warrington, while searching for coins and artefacts.

Their peaceful Sunday afternoon on Sunday took an exciting twist when they checked the bottom of their magnet and saw the deadly wartime weapon.

Two fishermen Martyn Jones (left), 24, and Karl McDonald (right), 30, were shocked when they found an unexploded WWII grenade while searching for artefacts in the Mersey river Two fishermen Martyn Jones (left), 24, and Karl McDonald (right), 30, were shocked when they found an unexploded WWII grenade while searching for artefacts in the Mersey river
The pairs sleepy Sunday afternoon took an explosive turn when they found the deadly war weapon The pairs sleepy Sunday afternoon took an explosive turn when they found the deadly war weapon

Two fishermen Martyn Jones (left), 24, and Karl McDonald (right), 30, were shocked when they found an unexploded WWII grenade while searching for artefacts in the Mersey river

Plant operator Karl, who is also from Warrington, said: 'We must have been there for thirty or forty minutes, we'd already pulled out a knife and then I pulled it up.

'The bottom of it was stuck to the magnet. A couple were there watching us and asked us what we'd got, and, joking, I said it was a grenade.

'It was the shape of it, and it was around the size of a baseball. Straight away it rang alarm bells. I showed it to Martyn and asked him what he thought it was, and he said a grenade.

'At that point I was about seventy per cent sure it was a grenade.

'It was a good walk back to the car but I didn't want to leave it, and we didn't have our phones with us because the magnets can damage electrical appliances.

'So I just carried it with my hand and in the bucket. I phoned the police and said 'we've found what looks like a grenade'.

'The car park was a very public area. We took it to the far corner of the car park and I backed the car up so if it had gone off it would have just hit the car.

'When the officer arrived there was no hesitation, he called up for the bomb disposal squad.'

The pair were not carrying phones with them as the high-strength magnets they use can damage electrical equipment.

Instead, they were forced to carry the grenade in a bucket 

Plant operator Karl, who is also from Warrington, said: 'We must have been there for thirty or forty minutes, we'd already pulled out a knife and then I pulled it up. The bottom of it was stuck to the magnet. A couple were there watching us and asked us what we'd got, and, joking, I said it was a grenade.' Plant operator Karl, who is also from Warrington, said: 'We must have been there for thirty or forty minutes, we'd already pulled out a knife and then I pulled it up. The bottom of it was stuck to the magnet. A couple were there watching us and asked us what we'd got, and, joking, I said it was a grenade.'

Plant operator Karl, who is also from Warrington, said: 'We must have been there for thirty or forty minutes, we'd already pulled out a knife and then I pulled it up. The bottom of it was stuck to the magnet. A couple were there watching us and asked us what we'd got, and, joking, I said it was a grenade.'

They were instead forced to sling the grenade into a bucket and make the five minute walk through Warrington town centre to a pub car park to grab their mobiles and call police.

The bomb was then taken to a nearby field and detonated in a controlled explosion.

Experts said it either came from WWII or from IRA militants, who carried out two bomb attacks in Warrington in 1993.

Martyn, who works in a bar, said: 'When we first found it we thought it was just a lump of metal. It was corroded, but you could just make out the shape.

'As soon as the bomb team saw it, they said that it was definitely a grenade.

'It was awesome. We asked if we could watch, and we went with them to the field and just watched them detonate it, it was really cool.

'It was a controlled explosion, but there was still lots of smoke.'

The pair were not carrying phones so had to carry the device in a bucket through Warrington town centre to a nearby field to detonate The pair were not carrying phones so had to carry the device in a bucket through Warrington town centre to a nearby field to detonate
Karl said: 'Before they detonated they told us it would be a little puff but it was actually quite a big explosion. It was buried in the ground, but it was the actual grenade going off because it was live.' Karl said: 'Before they detonated they told us it would be a little puff but it was actually quite a big explosion. It was buried in the ground, but it was the actual grenade going off because it was live.'

The pair were not carrying phones so had to carry the device in a bucket through Warrington town centre to a nearby field to detonate

Karl added: 'We just felt excitement really. It's not your average day out. I was a little bit shocked that I had carried it so far.

'Before they detonated they told us it would be a little puff but it was actually quite a big explosion. It was buried in the ground, but it was the actual grenade going off because it was live.

'They told us then that it could either be an IRA grenade from when they were in Warrington or from around World War II.'

The pair have been magnet fishing for a couple of months, and had only tried their hand at the hobby a couple of times before making the explosive discovery.

And Martyn and Karl say they were allowed to keep the grenade shrapnel as a souvenir of their banging day out.

Martyn said: 'You can find all sorts of stuff, we'll definitely keep doing it.

'It goes to show there are lots of things you can find magnet fishing, you just never know what you're going to find.

The pair have been magnet fishing for a couple of months, and had only tried their hand at the hobby a couple of times before making the explosive discovery The pair have been magnet fishing for a couple of months, and had only tried their hand at the hobby a couple of times before making the explosive discovery
Martyn said: 'You can find all sorts of stuff, we'll definitely keep doing it. It goes to show there are lots of things you can find magnet fishing, you just never know what you're going to find.' Martyn said: 'You can find all sorts of stuff, we'll definitely keep doing it. It goes to show there are lots of things you can find magnet fishing, you just never know what you're going to find.'

The pair have been magnet fishing for a couple of months, and had only tried their hand at the hobby a couple of times before making the explosive discovery

'I'm definitely going to keep it up as a hobby.'

A spokesman for the Royal Logistics Corps, who handle bomb disposal, said: 'We can confirm the object was a 36 Mills grenade and that it was detonated on site, which means it could have been live.'

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: 'On Sunday 19 March shortly before 3pm police were notified of the discovery of what is believed to be a World War 2 hand grenade.

'Members of the public were magnet fishing at the Waterside, Warrington, when they pulled the hand grenade from the river.

'Police attended the scene and set up a cordon as a precaution. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) were also notified of the discovery.

'As a precautionary measure the device was moved to a remote field off of Chester Road and a controlled explosion by EOD officers was carried out.' 

 


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