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Early on the morning of August 19 auctioneer Edward Whitton had begun unpacking a number of sealed boxes of mainly Second World War memorabilia consigned by a local lady whose father had been a pilot.

Whitton was shocked to find several apparently live bombs and immediately called his local police station who - upon the receipt of a digital image - ordered the building on Dowell Street to be evacuated.

The saleroom was sealed off for much of the day until the arrival of Navy Command from Plymouth. They later confirmed the presence of a series of air-dropped bomb fuses, two one kilogram incendiary bombs with A2 impact fuses (one still live) and various V1 and V2 rocket fragments that are deemed a chemical hazard.

The vendor was surprised to learn about the contents of the boxes her father had left behind. They had been in a bedroom wardrobe for over 40 years.

The discovery of wartime ordnance in a regional saleroom is not a unique occurrence. In 2007 Halls of Shrewsbury were evacuated on the discovery of a live No. 36 Mills grenade.