Northern Ireland

Enniskillen family's shock at finding mortar in garden

A family in Enniskillen is recovering from the shock of finding a rocket propelled grenade in their garden.

Police said the device is believed to be a 40-year-old mortar.

It was discovered in the Sligo Road area of the town on Friday.

Margaret McGinley had just recently moved into the property with her husband and five children. The family were told they were lucky no one was killed when it was nearly hit with a spade.

"My husband and his two nephews were putting a manhole cover over a drain at the back of the house and they were excavating part of a dry wall to get the cover to fit and this object rolled out at their feet," she said.

"My husband's nephew was just about to hit it with a shovel, as he thought it was a stone, when my husband said, 'don't, don't touch that' and they realised it was some sort of explosive device so they rang the police.

"They came very promptly and evacuated us out of the house and said the boys were very lucky they hadn't caused themselves serious injury or death."

Army technical officers examined the grenade before carrying out a controlled explosion on it in a nearby field.

'Very lucky'

The family were allowed to return home at 2000 BST on Friday.

"It was only after we were allowed back into the house that we realised how close our children were playing out there," said Mrs McGinley.

"The local builder who was helping us to renovate the house had moved the oil tank from where it was and this device had just been under the platform where the original oil tank was, so we were very very lucky and we're still coming to terms with the shock."

Mrs McGinley said the family had been told that "these devices are still being used today".

"They date back from post world war to the present day and they felt because of the condition it was in, that it had been in the ground for 15 to 20 years because it was quite badly eroded."