Dangers of deadly accident 'minimal'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 April, 2000, 12:00am

THE discovery of live World War II bombs is not necessarily a safety risk, according to police force explosives supremo Dominic Brittain.

He said provided people did not do 'anything silly' when they found an unexploded bomb, the danger was minimal.

'It's very difficult to say what the risk is of the next one found going off,' Mr Brittain said. 'You can't say there's no risk - there's no such thing as no risk.

'But history has shown that the risk of it going off is virtually zero if you leave it alone.

'On every single occasion on a construction site where they've found one and stopped [working near it], the bomb has never exploded. It's just sometimes they [the workers] get very silly.' Mr Brittain said the problems arose when people tried to move a bomb, or decided to 'get their spanners out and start tinkering'.

In one case, construction workers found a bomb on a Monday but, not wanting to disrupt the week's work, painted it red to warn trucks not to drive over it and continued working. They did not call police until the Friday evening.

Pile driving, where equipment penetrated a bomb before workers had identified it, had set off a few small explosions, he conceded.

'I'm not saying life is completely safe,' Mr Brittain said. 'If you find these things, the thing to do is just stop and call the cops.'