Man ‘chopped away’ on ‘shell’ on Ainsdale beach before realizing what it was
A man who found a Second World War shell while metal detecting on a Merseyside beach and took it home started “picking” at it before realizing what it was.
Wayne Boyle, 53, recently won a metal detector in a competition and was on just his second trip with it on Saturday (March 3) when he thought he found “a lump of coal with gold sticking out of it” on Ainsdale Beach. Wayne pocketed the find, a World War II shell, and took it home for further investigation.
At home, Wayne tried to “hack away” the rusted ammunition on Sunday morning (March 5) before posting it on a forum to see if anyone could help him identify it. Just hours later, his entire road was blocked off as a bomb squad and explosives specialists descended on his house.
READ MORE: Live court updates as the Thomas Cashman trial for the murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel begins
Wayne told MEN: “It was crazy. I put it in my pocket on the beach because I thought it might be of interest and I didn’t want to damage it.
“I put it in this metal detecting place and everyone immediately tells me to call the police immediately. They said it looked like some kind of round and it might even still be alive. So that’s when I started taking seriously.”
Realizing what he might have on his hands, Wayne called 101 and the police quickly arrived to take pictures of the object and send them to experts.
He said: “It basically went from there. More fire engines came, and police and ambulances. They closed off the whole street and told everyone to stay in front of their homes.
A bomb squad analyzed the item and told Wayne that he had found a 20mm Hispano shell dating back to World War II. He was told that it is likely that it would have been dropped by a Spitfire during the conflict.
When he later surveyed the beach, Wayne realized he had searched just minutes from the Royal Air Force’s Woodvale base – where the shell could have come from.
He said: “The fact that I’ve had it in my pocket yesterday and then in my car driving home last night and then I hacked it open this morning – it’s shocking. I mentioned the Spitfire to the ordnance expert, he said He said it was from a chain and it could have fallen out.
“When I realized what it was this morning and I told my wife it looks like I found a shell on the beach, I don’t think she quite understood what I was doing.”
A GMFRS spokesperson said: “At approximately 12.15pm today (Sunday 5th March), firefighters were called to reports of a potential artillery shell at a property on Temperance Street in Broadbottom, Tameside.
“Two fire engines from Stalybridge and Hyde arrived quickly at the scene. Firefighters worked with Greater Manchester Police to close the street and residents were asked to stay inside their homes with doors and windows closed.
Man who stabbed his mother in pub car park acquitted of murder
Thomas Cashman claims a gunman who killed Olivia Pratt-Korbel “wasn’t me,” the jury said
The UK snow map shows when snow is set to fall in Merseyside as the Met Office issues new warnings
Matalan customers praise ‘beautiful’ £9.50 storage baskets that ‘look expensive’