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Police at Willow House, South Ashford after 'discovery of explosives'

Police are at a block of flats in South Ashford after the discovery of a collection of explosives.

Neighbours say they were evacuated from their homes for three hours after the discovery on Tuesday night.

The raid is believed to have centred on the home of a war veteran, Major David Sharp, who died at the weekend.

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Police cars are at the scene
Police cars are at the scene

Police vehicles could be seen outside the Willow House block of flats today.

A police spokesman said: "Officers had cause to visit an address at a block of flats in Hackfield, Ashford at around 6.30pm on Tuesday, November 15.

"Upon entry they discovered a number of items of wartime memorabilia.

"The Ministry of Defence's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team attended the scene to assess the items.

"On confirming the items were safe, residents were able to return to their homes at around 10pm.

"Officers have been carrying out further routine enquiries at the address, as with so many items, it takes time.

"The public is not in any danger. No one has been arrested. Enquiries are continuing.

Neighbour Peter Ashworth said the bomb disposal teams arrived on Tuesday night and residents were told to leave.

He said: “I had just gone to bed, and about 45 minutes later I was told to evacuate. There was the bomb squad going in, and they have been coming in and out today.”

Meanwhile Charlotte King said: “We saw the bomb squad going in and thought ‘oh God!’ and we were told to to get out. We were allowed back after an hour.

“We didn’t really know what was going on, but they told us that the elderly man had a collection and that some of it was live, they had sent in a robot. Later they knocked and told us that it was in fact low key.”

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "We've been told an old army war veteran has died and left explosives.

VIDEO: 'Explosives' have been found at the block of flats.

"He was a lovely man. Been in the services for about 50-odd years. It seems he had a bit of a collection of naughty stuff!

"We were evacuated on Tuesday night for about three hours, and let back in about 11.30pm. They evacuated Crestfield next door too.

"I've heard different rumours that he had bombs, they've definitely found something.

"There are three or four police cars here now, they have been here since Tuesday night and two more cars have just turned up. They've been carrying stuff out."

The flat is believed to be the former home of Korean war veteran Major David Sharp B.E.M. who died at the weekend while on a trip to St Mawgan near Newquay in Cornwall, where he was a part-time lecturer at the survival school.

Major David Sharp B.E.M. Credit: Andy Clark
Major David Sharp B.E.M. Credit: Andy Clark

Major Sharp, 88, was a prisoner of war in Korea in the 1950s, and was awarded with a number of accolades throughout his life, including the Korean Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize Medal.

He was the 476th – and last – Commonwealth prisoner to be released by the Chinese at the end of the Korean War.

He was a multiple escapee, who was shot and faced a firing squad as a prisoner of war.

Kent Police and the Army have been contacted.

More as we get it.

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