Beds, Herts & Bucks

St Albans wartime bombs blown up after seizure

Bombs detonated in St Albans Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption A number of World War One and Two munitions were made safe in controlled explosions

A number of World War One and Two munitions have been detonated by bomb disposal experts after a large haul was found at a house in Hertfordshire.

An Army bomb disposal unit was called to the scene on Wednesday after police found the weapons at the home in Windmill Avenue, St Albans.

Police officers were still searching the property on Thursday morning.

A 48-year-old man arrested on suspicion of stealing items from "protected sites" has been released on bail.

He is also accused of possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition.

The Army removed items including hand grenades, rifles, mortar shells and guns from the property.

Experts took them to a farmer's field on the edge of the city where they were made safe in a controlled explosion.

Police said further explosions may be carried out on Thursday.

Residents evacuated from nearby homes on Wednesday have since been able to return.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The Army removed items including hand grenades, rifles, mortar shells, guns and ammunition
Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Items were taken to a farmer's field on the edge of St Albans

'Museum' found

Hertfordshire Police said "a museum for World War One and World War Two relics" had been found in the garage at the address.

It is alleged the arrested man obtained "heritage artefacts" and wartime munitions from protected sites through illegal metal detecting, which is a heritage crime.

A police spokesman said: "It is a criminal offence to retrieve artefacts from the ground through using a metal detector if the land is a protected site or without permission of the landowner."

Mark Harrison, policing advisor for English Heritage, said this was the first time a partnership between the military, police, finds experts, archaeologists and prosecutors had been used to tackle this type of criminal activity.

Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption Officers found "a museum for World War One and World War Two relics" in the garage at the address
Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption Police said the Army was establishing the safety of the items but currently there was no danger to the public
Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Officers cordoned off the property

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