Great Yarmouth WW2 bomb: Experts cutting into bomb despite fears over gas mains

An aerial image released by Norfolk Police of the blast barrier built around the Great Yarmouth bomb.
Credit: Norfolk Police
Work will now begin on the next phase of the controlled destruction of the bomb. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Work on disarming a huge World War Two bomb in Great Yarmouth is continuing and is entering its final stages, after experts allayed fears over gas mains running nearby.

The process of cutting into the outer casing of the bomb which was found in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk was delayed when army disposal experts warned that even a controlled blast could damage two underground pipes.

But after assessment by experts, the risk to the pipes has been assessed as "highly unlikely", and the team in charge of the operation say they have brought in mitigation measures.

Work is continuing in the next phase of the controlled destruction of the bomb - cutting into the metre-long, 250kg device in an operation which could take up to 12 hours.

Families living within 400 metres of the site at Bollard Quay in the town have been out of their homes since Tuesday, and are being warned to expect further disruption.

Army bomb disposal experts examining the bomb on Tuesday before a blast barrier was built around it. Credit: Oliv3r Drone Photography

Norfolk Constabulary's Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison, chairman of the group which is leading the response, said: “Throughout this entire operation we are taking the advice of experts from the EOD on the safest option is to disarm this bomb and return to normality.

"Following detailed analysis from experts, the risk of pipes being raptured, should there be a full detonation, has been deemed high unlikely.

"The Norfolk Resilience Forum's Strategic Coordination Group has therefore agreed for EOD [the explosive ordnance disposal team] to continue with their plan to make the bomb safe.

"While highly unlikely that the worst happens, contingencies are in place with appropriate resources and experts on standby during the next phase of the operation."

He thanked the people of Great Yarmouth for their patience during the disruption.

Rest centres remain open at St George’s Theatre in King Street and the Shrublands Youth and Adult Centre in Magdalen Way in Gorleston.

Road closures are in place at:

  • Southtown Road – closed from the junction with Tollgate Road all the way to Beccles Road;

  • Litchfield Road, off Southtown Road, is partially closed;

  • Williams Adam Way, off Southtown Road, is closed;

  • Boundary Road, off Southtown Road, is partially closed;

  • Tollgate Road, off Southtown Road, is closed.

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