WWII mortar bomb handed into south London police station caused security alert

The mortar bomb was the third weapon to be handed in at Sutton Police station as part of an amnesty

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The Independent Online

An 80-year-old man caused a security alert on Monday when he handed a Second World War bomb into a south-west London police station as part of a weapons amnesty.

On the first day of the firearm surrender scheme, the man caused the police station in Sutton to be partially evacuated and the street outside cordoned off at around 1:20pm

The elderly man from Carshalton, south-west London, placed the bomb at the reception counter wrapped in a plastic bag, meaning counter staff could not assess what condition the bomb was in, the police explained.

Acting Chief Inspector Andy Brittain told BBC News: "We felt it was appropriate to call in the experts and get them to deal with it - in the meantime we took steps to protect our officers, staff and members of the public." 

After explosive experts analysed the bomb, it was declared safe around an hour later.

The elderly man told police that the device had belonged to his father, and he had displayed it on his mantelpiece at home for a decade. He explained that he kept the mortar in good condition by cleaning it regularly.

Explosive officers described the device as a 3in 1940s mortar without a fuse or firing pin, which may have been used to train soldiers.

The man presented the weapon as part of an amnesty which Metropolitan Police hope will encourage people to hand in fire arms and ammunition which will run until 11pm on 23 November.

The scheme is aimed at tackling the number of firearms in circulation on the streets of London, where gangs are known to fashion their own bullets for otherwise out of use antique weapons.

The mortar was the third item to be handed in as part of the firearm surrender, with the first being a World War II revolved and holster at around 8:15 am. A few hours later, an elderly resident rode up to the police station on a mobility scooter with a gun in the front basket.

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