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Work continues to remove unexploded bomb

Work to disarm an unexploded Word War II bomb in Great Yarmouth continues today (Friday 10 February).

Overnight army specialists have been cutting into the bomb as planned, which has been challenging and complicated.

Following an assessment of the work overnight, due to the need to use water in that work, the water has in part reduced the integrity of the sand box barrier. Following the assessment, work has started to repair the sand barrier to strengthen its ability to mitigate any unintended detonation. Once complete, army specialists will continue with the work to make the bomb safe. This may see a revision in the current plan shared with the public yesterday.

The repair work will take a number of hours and following this, work to make the bomb safe can begin again.

The bomb was found during dredging work at the site of the third river crossing development off Southtown Road on Tuesday (7 February 2023). 

Since it was found, a delicate and ever-developing operation has been carried out involving agencies in Norfolk, following the specialist advice of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team.

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: "As we have throughout this entire operation, we're taking the advice of the army because they're the experts. 

"We understand this has been an incredibly slow process, but it's needed to be for the safety of the public and those involved in disarming the device. 

"We're striving to strike a balance between getting this resolved as quickly as possible, in the safest way possible and we're hopeful a significant part of the operation will be finished today and we will keep the public updated on progress. Again, on behalf of everyone involved in this operation, we'd like to thank the public for their understanding." 

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.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council chief executive Sheila Oxtoby said: ''We are acutely aware how disruptive this has been for people in Great Yarmouth. The operation to make the unexploded bomb safe has been hugely complex and has now unfortunately run into a fourth day.

''The safety of our residents is of paramount importance and we are enormously grateful for the patience and understanding of those who have had to leave their homes while the work continues. We also know the impact has been significant on the wider community in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, with roads, public transport, businesses and services all affected to some degree. We thank everyone locally for their continued patience as all the agencies involved work as quickly as possible to resolve the situation safely.

''The comfort and wellbeing of those displaced is our priority and if the situation carries on into the weekend we will offer suitable, comfortable accommodation with all the facilities people require.

''Anyone who does need help with somewhere to stay will find temporary care at the Town Hall in Great Yarmouth until 5pm today and they will then be offered comfortable overnight accommodation and support.

''People can also call the emergency helpline on 01493 330369 if they require assistance with evacuation from the exclusion zone or help with accommodation, although that number should not be used for general advice.''

''Once again, we would like to reassure people that all the agencies involved in this incident are doing everything within their power as quickly as possible to get people home safely.''

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 is 01493 330369 and should not be used for general advice.

Last modified on 18 January 2024

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