Southend Coastguard Rescue Team were kept busy over the weekend following reports of possible unexploded ordnance found on the beach in Westcliff. Due to the difficulties of the location and tides, the operation of locating, inspecting and disposing of the items took three days. A total of 16 items were identified and photographs sent to the Royal Navy. An EOD team from Portsmouth came up to the site and prepared for detonation of the weaponry at low tide on 25th February. A 500m cordon was put in place to the east and west of the site for the safety of the public. The controlled detonation was successful and the beach was re-opened following inspection of the area.
It is not uncommon for items of unexploded ordnance to wash up on the beaches around Southend and along many sections of the Essex coastline. Historically, the coast here was heavily defended, and there were several seaward facing firing ranges present in the area such the one at Shoeburyness. As a result, projectiles and other items of ordnance of various type, calibre and age are often encountered on the beaches and during offshore dredging and intrusive works. For any works taking place off the coast of the UK or on and around beaches and coastal areas, the risk of encountering unexploded ordnance should always be borne in mind.