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Further complications delay controlled explosion in Great Yarmouth

Further complications have delayed work to carry out a controlled explosion on the Second World War device in Great Yarmouth.

The device in Bollard Quay is in a hazardous location with two main gas pipes - a low pressure pipe and a medium pressure supply running along Southtown Road - near the bomb.

On the advice of experts, overnight, the army's bomb disposal specialists halted plans to start cutting into the bomb.

A team of scientific experts from the Defence Science and Technical Laboratory - which advises the British Army on blast science - are putting together a number of options so emergency services, partner agencies, gas engineers, bomb specialists and environmental experts can consider the next steps.

Norfolk Constabulary's Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison and the Chair of the Strategic Co-ordinating Group set up through Norfolk's Local Resilience Forum, said: "This is a complicated and unique situation. It became clear over night that the mainline gas pipes are in proximity to the bomb and therefore pose an additional, and potentially dangerous risk should the bomb detonate as EOD attempts to disarm it and make it safe. This serious complication must be properly considered and evaluated before further direct work can be undertaken on the bomb.

"This is painstaking work and is causing huge disruption to people but it's critical that we follow expert advice and do not take unnecessary risks because this device is unstable and should it detonate, poses a significant threat to life and property.

"A team of scientific experts together with the emergency services and local authority partners are currently trying to work out the best way of resolving this situation as safely and as quickly as possible.

"On behalf of all the agencies working together to bring about a safe resolution, I would like to thank the public and communities in Great Yarmouth for their understanding and resilience. We know this is disrupting your life and all agencies are working very hard to resolve this as soon as we can but with safety and preservation of life at the heart of what we're doing."

The device, which is currently surrounded by a sand bank, measures about a metre long, weighs 250kg and is unsafe to move in its current state.

A 400-metre cordon remains in place at the scene. The cordon has been split into two zones and includes a strict 200-metre inner cordon where people are prohibited from entering and must leave. Anyone living in the outer cordon (200-400 metres) is strongly advised to evacuate.

A no-fly zone remains in place in the immediate vicinity of the device until further notice.

Rest centres remain open at St George's Theatre in King Street or the Mesh, Shrublands Youth and Adult Centre, Magdalen Way, Gorleston.

Road closures are in place at:

  • Southtown Road - closed from its junction with Tollgate Road all the way to Beccles Road.
  • Litchfield Road, off Southtown Road, is partially closed.
  • Williams Adam Way, off Southtown Road, is closed.
  • Boundary Road, off Southtown Road, is partially closed.
  • Tollgate Road, off Southtown Road, is closed.

An emergency helpline for people who require assistance with evacuation from the exclusion zone is also still available. This helpline should not be used for general advice.

Last modified on 21 June 2024

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