Boy, 9, discovers live World War Two grenade in his East Devon garden

George found the grenade in his garden while looking for bones yesterday (25 March) Credit: BPM Media

A boy who was searching for bones in his back garden in East Devon made a startling discovery which led to the bomb squad being called.

George Peniston-Bird, from Yarcombe, was "very excited" to find a live hand grenade from the Second World War yesterday (25 March).

The nine-year-old was searching in the back garden when he uncovered the device and came running into the house to tell his mother, Céline, about it.

She said: "I was absolutely sparko after a really late night and he came running into the bedroom and was like 'you've got to wake up, I've found a grenade' and I went 'oh yeah absolutely, I'm sure you have, that's fantastic, why don't you go and take a picture of it' like all mothers do and thought 'that's just going to be a bit of rubbish'."

But what George had revealed was not rubbish, but a historic find, and as he was about to find out - it was still an active explosive device.

George was searching for bones in the garden when he came across the grenade Credit: BPM Media

Céline called 101, the non-emergency police number and explained the situation, but found herself put through to 999 by the operator.

She said: "I rang 101 and was like 'hi, really awkward, I think my son's found a grenade' and then she said 'oh I'm just going to put you through to someone' and the next thing I hear is 999 priority."

Police officers then arrived at their home around 20 minutes later and agreed with Céline that it did appear to be a grenade and alerted the bomb disposal squad.

But as the Plymouth squadron was busy in Cornwall, the 721 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron of the Royal Logistics Corps had to be summoned from Tidworth Camp in Wiltshire.

Céline said the soldiers took an X-ray of the object and discovered that the explosive was still live.

It was then taken to a nearby field and safely detonated, sending mud over a hedge into another field.

Céline said George had a "brilliant" afternoon and was only disappointed that he could not go to school to tell everyone about his discovery.

She said: "George was very excited about the whole thing obviously.

"My afternoon didn't go quite to plan, but his was brilliant. He loved it. He got to sit in a police car and everything.

"He's gutted cause he's already on school holiday so he's like 'I can't even go to school and tell everyone'."

Explaining how George had made the discovery in the first place, she said: "He'd gone out because he absolutely loves bones and he'd gone out looking for bones.

"He was looking along the edge of a wall on the ground in the orchard and as he was walking along, he tripped over and went to stand back up and like a metre in front of him he'd gone 'oh that's really cool'."

George was very excited and got to sit in a police car with Sgt Bacon and PC Driver from Honiton Police Station Credit: BPM Media

Devon and Cornwall Police have said that uncovering unexploded grenades in the area is "surprisingly common".

In a post on Facebook, Rural East Devon Police wrote it had attended a similar incident in nearby Colyton last week and that it was called to another grenade discovery yesterday afternoon.

The post said: "This might sound concerning, but is surprisingly common in Devon & Cornwall where a number of devices either wash on shore or are located when clearing out a loved-ones property after being kept as a keepsake.

"As we type this update, Sgt Bacon and PC Driver are on scene at a property in Beer to deal with yet another grenade that's been located.

"This time, it's sailors from Bravo Diving Unit One at HM Naval Base Devonport who are on route to assist with the disposal.

"If you find anything like this in your garden or home, try to remain calm and clear everyone away from the immediate area.

"Call us on 999 from a safe distance away from the item and be prepared to go and let your neighbours know until help arrives."

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