Article by Sean Davies: A bomb squad was called and two homes evacuated after a water valve was mistaken for a hand grenade.
Police descended on Pauline Gardens, Billericay, quickly followed by the Ministry Of Defence’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.
Neighbours in the area reported being told that builders had discovered a “hand grenade” in the loft of a property, and police were called.
Upon inspection, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team confirmed the object was not an unexploded device was, but in fact just a water valve. The house in question was immediately evacuated, as well as the neighbouring semi-detached home.
Although those in the area admitted they weren’t overly concerned about the possibility of an explosion, despite several police cars descending on the residential road.
Bob Reeves, 71, of Pauline Gardens said it was a bit of unexpected excitement on a Tuesday afternoon, admitting he was not particular concerned, especially since police were parked on the house’s driveway. He said:
“I was just popping out as the police arrived, and I though I wonder what they are doing. “I came home 15 minutes later and they were parked pretty much outside my house. I don’t think police were particularly concerned, obviously it has been there for quite a while and hasn’t exploded before. They have evacuated the house, and the direct neighbours, but there is still an officer sitting in his car in the driveway so I don’t think they are too concerned about an explosion. Speaking to a few of the neighbours, they were told that the builders had been doing some work in the loft and found an old hand grenade."
Police were on the scene from just before 12.30am , with the explosive ordnance disposal team arriving just after 2pm. PC Sam Creighton said:
“We were called to a report of a potential explosive device in Billericay we called on the expertise of EOD otherwise known as the military’s bomb disposal unit who are based in Colchester. After we sent them some photographs of the object they decided they would attend to assess it further. We quickly asked residents on either side of the address to evacuate and made sure no-one else could enter the property. On their arrival they entered the property and quickly told us they believed the device to simply be an old water valve! Which would explain why it was found next to the old water tank. It is always better to be safe than sorry if you have any doubts please call us, we would rather this ending than something a lot more serious.”
A police spokesman said:
“We were called just after midday on Tuesday, January 30 with reports that an object, possibly a piece of unexploded ordnance, had been found in a house in Pauline Gardens, Billericay. The property was evacuated, and residents nearby have been advised appropriately by our officers, who are on scene. The Ministry of Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal team attended and the object was found not to be an unexploded device of any kind.”
Article by Sean Davies, The Echo