A first-time metal detectorist has spoken of the “fear” he felt after finding an unexploded bomb thought to date back to the First World War near a school in the Highlands.
STV News revealed on Wednesday morning that emergency services locked down a 200m area nearby Invergordon Academy evacuating homes after the discovery.
Ryan Junor, an oil worker from Alness who was out using his newly acquired metal detector for the first time alongside his son, found a hulk of metal by the Invergordon Rugby Club playing fields near some of wartime bunkers.
He told STV News: “Myself and my son went metal detecting on Tuesday night with my friend Joey Skinner up at the old bomb shelter, up in the fields there.
“In the first ten minutes, we started beeping, and we came across something.
“So we started digging. It was quite large and heavy. So we carefully dug around it all and then we managed to get it out and it just looked like an old, rusty, heavy bottle.”
Confused by the discovery, Ryan uploaded a picture of the object onto a social media page looking for help to identify it from fellow metal detectorists.
After being told it looked like a Stokes mortar bomb from World War I, the oil worker from Alness revealed he “panicked” and contacted the police straight away.
“We panicked because we were that close to it that we were digging right beside it.”Ryan Junor, first-time metal detectorist
He added: “We didn’t know what it was at first. I posted some photos on our metal detecting page on Facebook asking if they knew what it was.
“People came back saying that they thought it was like a Stokes mortar bomb from World War One.
“When we found that out I contacted the police, sent photos to them, and then we gave a couple of statements last night to the police.
“We kind of panicked because we were that close to it that we were digging right beside it.
“So, it was fear afterwards. We just called the police straight away. We knew all that the kids walk that way to school. So my initial thought just to get it phoned and report it.
“My friend, he’s just got into it recently as well. He’s been telling me to get one, so I got one and it was just the first time out yesterday, so I can’t believe what we found.”
Invergordon is a deep water port which served as a naval base in both world wars.
Emergency services attended the scene at Castle Terrace, alongside the bomb squad and the several houses and shops were evacuated.
The roads have now been re-opened and police confirmed there was no wider threat to the public.
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that Charlie Squadron from the Faslane-based Diving Threat and Exploitation Group (DXTG) are attending the incident in Invergordon.
“They have dispatched a Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Officer to the scene and are liaising with Police Scotland to deal with an item of historic ordnance which was found by a metal detectorist.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Emergency services attended at Castle Terrace in Invergordon after an unexploded ordnance was found. A cordon was put in place, and several houses and shops were evacuated as a precaution.
“Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) attended and removed the item.
“The cordon has been lifted, and the roads have now re-opened. There was no wider threat to the public. Thanks to the public for their patience.”
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