Exeter University bomb: cordon extended and more than 2,000 properties evacuated

A police van guarding the cordon near the Exeter University building. Credit: ITV West Country

The cordon around an unexploded bomb in Exeter has been extended and around 2,600 properties have been evacuated.

A major incident was declared yesterday (Friday 26 February) after the discovery of the suspected World War Two bomb. Around 100 properties were evacuated and the military were brought in to make the device safe and remove it.

The cordon was extended from 100 to 400 metres this morning. A notice has been handed out to residents asking them to leave their homes by 9am this morning (Saturday 27 February).

Trains out of Exeter are being replaced by buses as the larger cordon now falls across the railway line between Exeter St Davids and Taunton.

Devon and Cornwall police released a statement saying: "A 400-metre cordon is in place and around 2,600 properties have been evacuated in preparation for the examination of a possible unexploded World War Two device, which was located at a site on Glenthorne Road, Exeter, yesterday, Friday 26 February.

"The device was located on a building site on private land to the west of the University of Exeter campus.

"An initial 100-metre cordon was erected and the evacuation commenced yesterday evening and continued this morning at the request of the Royal Navy bomb disposal team who worked through the night to establish a walled mitigation structure.

"The examination and detonation of the device has been passed to the Army.

"Examination of the device is due to commence at 10am and could take several hours. Police hope this work will be completed by the end of today, Saturday 27 February, but will be guided by the bomb disposal team.

"Devon County Council, as the highways authority, has implemented road closures between Cowley Bridge and Exe Bridges, and diversions, and motorists are advised to avoid the area.

"Updates will be provided through Devon and Cornwall Police’s Twitter and Facebook pages and website and in local media.

"Residents should be reassured that military, police and partners are working to maintain public safety.

"Exemptions in COVID-19 social distancing rules exist for matters of public safety such as this."

A police van guarding the cordon near the Exeter University building. Credit: Devon Live/BPM Media

Great Western Railway released a statement saying the line will be blocked between Exeter St Davids and Taunton, and between Exeter St Davids and Crediton for the duration of Saturday 27 February.

The statement said: "Due to a wartime bomb near the railway between Exeter St Davids and Taunton all lines will be blocked. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.

"Train services between Exeter St Davids and Taunton may be cancelled, delayed by up to 45 minutes or diverted via Honiton. Tiverton Parkway will not be served.

"CrossCountry will convey passengers between Penzance and Cheltenham Spa in both directions between 09:00 27/02/21 and 23:59 27/02/21.

"Arrangements have been made for Great Western Railway rail tickets to be accepted for these journeys."Replacement road transport services will convey passengers between Taunton and Exeter St Davids via Tiverton Parkway in both directions between 09:00 27/02/21 and 23:59 27/02/21."


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