Hundreds of sunbathers were evacuated from Brighton beach after an unexploded mortar shell was discovered on the seafront by an amateur metal detectorist.
Several hundreds of people were hurried off the beach in a chaotic scene just after 2.15pm, on what was one of the warmest days of the year with temperatures reaching 17 degrees.
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Local Graham Hollinshead, who was “four or five sips” in to his first drink out since lockdown said he thought the evacuation was a prank at first.
He said: “There was zero information and very poor communication.
“It was my very first pint out in a bar since lockdown...Everyone was scared because the communication was so bad.”
Another witness described police shouting at members of the public to “get back” through a megaphone, with scores crowding a single street.
A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed a local man with a metal detector had made the discovery and said in a statement: “Police have cordoned off a section of beach just west of Brighton Palace Pier after an item – possibly an unexploded mortar shell – was discovered.
“The scene has been made safe while officers await attendance from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
“In the interests of safety, members of the public are advised to stay away from the area in the meantime.”
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