Worthing bar owner stuck with explosive he cannot get rid of

A co-owner of a Worthing bar was ‘horrified’ to discover a hand flare while clearing up after the Euro 2020 final – and now he does not know how to get rid of it.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 1:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 3:34 pm

David McLaughin, who owns Bar Orange in Chapel Road with his partner and son, said a customer must have brought in the Pains Wessex white collision warning hand flare, before abandoning it.

The 61-year-old said he has since been ‘going round in circles’ trying to get rid of the explosive device.

“I took it to the local police station and they said it was nothing to do with them,” said David.

David McLaughlin with the hand flare outside Bar Orange in Worthing. Picture: Jon Rigby

“They suggested going to the Beach Office – so I went there and got the same response – they suggested contacting the Coastguard and RNLI.

“I contacted the Coastguard who suggested I take it to the office at the Lady Bee Marina in Shoreham, so I went there and they said the same as the police and Beach Office and said I should take it to the police!

“I am not overly impressed. None of these official organisations are taking responsibility for it. And if I go and let it off, it’s a criminal offence.”

David said throwing the flare away risks the safety of people.

David McLaughlin with the hand flare outside Bar Orange in Worthing. Picture: Jon Rigby

“We were horrified that somebody brought it in. If they had let it off, it could have hurt a lot of people.

“There must be someone who can deal with these things.

“It is currently locked away in a secure metal cupboard.”

The Herald and Gazette contacted the police, who said: “This is not a police matter. Advice about this issue is available on the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) website. It may be worth seeking advice from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal if all other avenues have been exhausted.”

The RYA advises people to make an appointment with their nearest Marine Rescue Coordination Centre and tell them of the number and type of flares they need to dispose of.

The Coastguard will then advise you of how, when and if they will dispose of them.