Work to defuse huge Great Yarmouth wartime bomb halted because of complications

The finished blast barrier built around the bomb in Great Yarmouth.
Credit: Norfolk Police
An aerial view of the bomb site in Great Yarmouth Credit: Norfolk Police

Work to disarm a huge wartime bomb has been halted, after repairs had to be sand defences built around it.

A remote-controlled robot began cutting through the outer casing of the 250kg device in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk on Thursday evening.

But the water involved in that procedure - to cool the cutting zone and blade - has undermined the sandbag-built blast barrier, forcing army bomb disposal teams to pause the procedure to repair the defences.

Work had begun on cutting into the bomb on Thursday evening, after a delay of several hours as army bomb disposal experts assessed the danger posed to nearby gas mains on Southtown Road by any controlled explosion.

Bomb disposal teams have said the device is currently "unstable" and hope to make it safe before transporting it out to sea to conduct a controlled explosion.

After it was discovered on Tuesday, they began been building a huge sand-filled blast barrier around the metre-long Second World War bomb.

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

Police ordered the evacuation of more than 200 homes within a 200m radius of the bomb site at Bollard Quay, and people have since been put up in rest centres or staying with friends and family.

A wider 400m cordon has also been set up, with people there "strongly advised" to move, while airspace over the device has also been closed.

Earlier in the week, police warned that there was a risk of shrapnel injuries and damage to buildings, and said there was a "real possibility" of the bomb going off.

It was discovered on Tuesday lunchtime during dredging by a contractor working on building a third river crossing in the town.

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