Brondesbury Park bomb: World War II device found in north London diffused

 

The unexploded World War Two bomb which forced more than 50 residents to leave their homes in north west London has been diffused, police said.

The army weapon disposal experts successfully neutralised the huge German aircraft bomb on Friday afternoon and are in the process of removing it from Brondesbury Park.

Scotland Yard said road closures were still in place but police cordons had been relaxed.

Officers said they believed residents would be allowed home on Friday evening but advised homeowners to check with the local authority.

Residents were told they could be allowed to return to their homes, in Brondesbury Park, before the weekend following a major evacuation of the area.

Hundreds of pupils from Marylebone Boys School and Malorees junior and infants schools were evacuated as well as many residents after the 500lb device was unearthed at a building site on Thursday morning.

Captain Steve Glover, senior technical officer for explosive ordnance disposal, told the Standard the operation had gone “really well”.

He said: “We are looking to start work on the neutralisation of the fuses this afternoon.

“It will then take a couple of hours to soak it and make sure it’s all safe before we start moving it out.”

Captain Glover revealed that the dustbin-sized bomb, dropped in 1940 during the Blitz, had two fuses which needed to be neutralised.

He insisted there was no danger to the public and that after the fuses were neutralised the bomb was no more than “a big lump of metal”.

“There was a very very tiny chance of it going off but we will not take risks with people’s lives which is why we worked with the authorities to clear the area,” he said.

“This operation has been complicated by the fact it’s a very urban area.

“It’s impossible to say how much damage it could do.”

ww2bomb0303e.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited ww2bomb0303e.jpg A police cordon remained in place on The Avenue on Friday and pupils at the nearby schools were given the day off.

Brent Council set up a rest centre at nearby St Martin’s Church for those evacuated from their homes.

Mick Gallagher, borough commander for Brent, today revealed he and many of the officers involved in the operation knew what to do after finding a similar bomb at Wembley stadium two years ago.

He said: “A lot of the officers, including myself, have got experience in dealing with this even though it is very unusual.”

He said that the bomb was expected to be removed and taken to an undisclosed location outside of London this afternoon to be safely detonated.

“We are very much being guided by the army and bomb disposal experts on this,” he said.

“But my view is that we have it contained.

“It has been there since 1940 but it is still dangerous enough to want to evacuate residents as a precaution.

“We are sure the schools will be back on Monday. The kids won’t be getting another day off unfortunately for them”.

Some 50 residents were put up at a nearby Holiday Inn last night, where free dominos pizza was laid on. About half of them were children and there were also two dogs. Others stayed with friends and Family.

The bomb was found by construction workers preparing to build 74 new apartments for developer Regal Homes.

The firm said it was assisting the services in whatever way it could.

Roxanne Landripet, who was evacuated on Thursday and spent the night at her sister’s house in West Drayton, said she had been informed she may be able to return home at 6pm this evening.

Another evacuated resident called Amy said: “It’s not a great way to spend a Friday and possibly a weekend but it’s what had to be done.

“They gave each person ten minutes to collect our belongings and waited for us.

The student added: “I felt that it was a little over dramatic that such a big area had to be evacuated but I’m glad they found the bomb and it was kind of them to offer shelter for us.”

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