A WAR time hand grenade had be detonated just metres away from stunned homeowners after it was discovered on a building site.

Essex Police officers were called to the Taylor Wimpey housing development in Thorpe Road, Kirby Cross, after the 70 plus-year-old hand grenade was discovered.

The force had rushed to the scene after receiving reports an unexploded ordnance had been found.

After being made aware of the historic explosive, the force’s local policing team liaised with a bomb expert from 1st Line Defence and the Taylor Wimpey site manager.


To protect nearby residents, many of whom were informed about the discovery and subsequent removal mission, a 50 metre cordon was put in place.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from Colchester was called and it was decided the best course of action would be to detonate the dangerous explosive.

As a result, building work on the development site, called The Laurels, was permitted to resume the following day.

Colin Hamer, 70, said the hand grenade was detonated just 50 metres away from his garden fence.

“The police couldn’t tell us much but it was a Second World War hand grenade and the pin was still in,” he said.

“The officers told us we did not need to evacuate but it was probably best we did not go out because the grenade would be going off.

“It did go off, about half an hour later, with a fair bang but there was no flash and I knew it was not going to blow the house up.

“The police officer did not know where it came from but they thought it might have been a collector’s piece but I am not sure who would collect a live hand grenade.

“It came as quite a shock but it was nice to have a bit of excitement in lockdown. Usually the most excitement thing is the Tesco delivery.”


David Couldridge, 73, also lives just a stone’s throw away from where the explosive was stumbled upon.

He said: “They have been digging up a lot of earth lately over there, so maybe that is how they found it.

“I was not actually told about it by the police so it would have been nice to have known.

“It is a bit worrying but there must be thousands of bombs around which have not yet been discovered.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman has since confirmed the finding.

They said: “We can confirm that the Ministry of Defence was called to deal with unexploded ordnance (UXO) that was uncovered during groundworks on our site in Kirby Cross on 4th November 2020.

"Our first priority is the safety of our employees, subcontractors, customers and the general public. 

"Following the discovery we immediately halted work and called the police, who evacuated and cordoned off the site and alerted nearby residents.

"The UXO was removed by a specialist Ministry of Defence bomb disposal team and work restarted the following day once the site was declared safe.

"The development is in its early stages of construction and no homes have been built."