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Sheerness family tells of bomb scare after coastguard cordens off Leysdown beach to deal with unexploded ordnance


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It was supposed to be a relaxing trip to the beach on the hottest day of the year.

But for Tracy Ryan and her family it ended up with a section of the sand being cordoned off and a warning after her teenage son discovered potentially live munition along the shore.

The device Jack found on the beach. Picture: Tracy Ryan
The device Jack found on the beach. Picture: Tracy Ryan

The mum had taken two of her three children, Jack, 14, and Sienna, 10, to Leysdown Beach, Sheerness on Friday at around 11am.

They were among hundreds of people flocking to the sun-kissed Isle of Sheppey to bask in the warmest temperatures recorded this year.

But an hour after arriving Tracey looked up to find her eldest return carrying what was later confirmed to be an explosive device.

The childminder from Minster Road said: "We headed to the beach as we knew it was going to be lovely and hot but with the breeze there it was probably the nicest place to be.

"Jack and Sienna went off to the muddy area and that's where he found the object."

Jack and Sienna Ryan at the beach. Picture: Tracy Ryan
Jack and Sienna Ryan at the beach. Picture: Tracy Ryan

"When I saw it I was kind of taken aback thinking oh my god and immediately took it off him."

Tracy enquired with another couple nearby who informed them it may have been ordnance.

She added: "We then left it to one side away from people as we went to get lunch.

"My son said there was more stuff there."

It wasn't until Tracy's friend's partner arrived at around 4pm that it was identified as a potentially unexploded device, and police were then called.

Tracy (left) with her friend Michelle (right) at the beach. Picture: Tracy Ryan
Tracy (left) with her friend Michelle (right) at the beach. Picture: Tracy Ryan

The 44 year-old said: "We spoke to the police and they told us to move away from it.

"After speaking to them Jack was quite excited and wanted his photo taken with it."

Police blocked the road along the beach on arrival until the Coastguard attended to deal with the incident shortly before 4.30pm.

In a statement HM Coastguard said: "We were tasked to an ordnance found on the beach near Leysdown.

"The object was checked, a cordon was set up and photos sent to the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).

"The team stayed at the scene until the EOD arrived and dealt with the ordnance."

The road was closed by police. Picture: Tracy Ryan
The road was closed by police. Picture: Tracy Ryan

It is unknown whether more were found or if the shell was live. It is also unclear where it came from and if it was British or from another country's military.

The beach sits around six miles away from the sunken wreckage of the SS Richard Montgomery - a World War Two ship which sank in the Thames Estuary near Sheerness in 1944.

It is said to be lying on the sea bed with 1,400 tonnes of unexploded cargo.

Anyone who sees something suspicious on the beach they suspect could be ordnance are advised to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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