Littlehampton teen discovers phosphorous shell on beach

AN EXPLOSIVE shell containing phosphorous, which was washed up on a beach in Littlehampton, was blown-up by bomb disposal experts, yesterday evening (Monday, May 7).

The controlled explosion at East Beach had to be carried out by munitions experts from the Royal Navy, when the shell started to leak liquid and let off smoke after a 13-year-old boy threw a stone at it.

The bomb disposal team arrived at the beach at about 7.30pm.

They set up a 200m cordon and took almost 40 minutes to fill dozens of protective sandbags and prepared a two-pound explosive charge under the leaking shell, which was believed to have been a 30-year-old marine marker, used by submarines to mark their position at sea.

Petty officer John O’Brien, who was leading the demolition team, said: “It’s not any normal explosive shell and we couldn’t just blow it up.

“If we did, we would have fragmentation spreading along the beach, with the phosphorous continuing to burn.

“We had to put our explosive charge under it and blow it into the air so that by the time it came back down, most of the phosphorous should have burnt off.”

The area has since been cleared of debris and re-opened.