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Bomb experts called to Westgate beach to detonate...a drain cover

By Marijke Hall

It was action stations for emergency services and bomb disposal experts when a suspicious device was seen on a beach in Thanet.

The area was cleared and cordoned off while the delicate operation of first finding it and then discovering what it was. In the end, though, it turned out to be nothing more than a drain cover. Dangerous if you dropped it on your foot, maybe, but that was about it.

The drama took place at St Mildred's Bay at Westgate-on-Sea on Saturday amid reports of a UXB on the sands.

The beach was cleared during the bomb alert
The beach was cleared during the bomb alert

A 50 metre cordon was put in place while the MoD explosive ordnance disposal team investigated.

Police officers were dispatched to assist the MoD at 2.45pm but due to tide times, both teams were forced to stand down and return on Sunday morning.

Police spokesman Jordan Bluer says after a search, no device was located and the area was deemed safe, with no risk to the public.

But after another sighting that day, HM Coastguard put a cordon in place and the MoD team returned to the beach for a further search.

“The suspected unexploded bomb was recovered and found to be non-ordnance,” said Mr Bluer.

The object turned out to be a drain cover. Stock image - wikimedia
The object turned out to be a drain cover. Stock image - wikimedia

Wartime explosive devices are still being found on Kent's beaches more than 70 years after the end of the Second World War, often by metal detectorists. In May a novice found one at Tankerton on his first outing.

An HM Coastguard spokesman said of the weekend's alert: “It wasn’t anything suspicious in the end.
“We think it was just a drain cover which had been uncovered.

“We went there to assist by cordoning off the area and making the explosive ordnance disposal team aware.”

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