Unexploded bomb in Bath deactivated by experts

An unexploded wartime bomb which was found in a school playground in Bath has been destroyed in a controlled explosion.

The 500lb shell was deactivated by experts from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit and taken out of the city on the back of a lorry where it was disposed of on Friday night.

A 300-metre exclusion zone was set up following the discovery at the Royal High School Bath - which Mary Berry attended - on Lansdown Road, Bath, at 4.40pm on Thursday.

Contractors unearthed the Second World War bomb from beneath the surface of the school's playground, which had been in use until two years ago.

Hundreds of homes were evacuated and many spent Thursday night in Bath Racecourse, the Guildhall and the Pavilion.

However, 24 residents within 100 metres of the device chose to stay in their homes against the advice of police.

Three primary schools were closed, along with a doctor's surgery, and drivers were asked to consider if it was "absolutely necessary" for them to travel into the city.

On Friday afternoon, the EOD team built a barrier around the device using 250 tonnes of sand. With this in place, experts were able to remove the bomb to a safe location and carry out the controlled explosion in a quarry near Shepton Mallet.

Chief Superintendent Ian Smith thanked residents and businesses who had been affected by the incident.

He said: "Thank you for your patience, co-operation and support throughout the last 24 hours.

"We have worked as quickly and diligently as possible to limit the disruption caused but, as you can expect with an incident of this nature, public safety has to be our primary concern."

Jan Lawrence, 67, a retired lab technician and her husband Bob, 70, a retired civil servant, were evacuated from their home by police at 9pm on Thursday.

"We had gone to the pub because they do a nice curry on a Thursday night," Mrs Lawrence said. "We walked up the hill and the police wouldn't let us go any further, they wouldn't say why.

"We had to come up the back way, that was about 8pm. I just got my dressing gown on and there was a loud knock at the door, it was the police.

"It was 9pm and they said we had to go. We came up here and have been here ever since."

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