Shell discovery shocked auction staff

STAFF at a Suffolk auction room were left with a potentially explosive incident on their hands thanks to one unexpected discovery.David Ashton, an assistant with Eriswell Hall Barn Auction House near Lakenheath, was unpacking a dusty box from a house clearance when World War II shells were found at the bottom.

STAFF at a Suffolk auction room were left with a potentially explosive incident on their hands thanks to one unexpected discovery.

David Ashton, an assistant with Eriswell Hall Barn Auction House near Lakenheath, was unpacking a dusty box from a house clearance when World War II shells were found at the bottom.

Initially the gleaming brass shell cases were thought to be spent and Mr Ashton put a reserve of £25 on them but after live fuses were spotted the bomb squad was called.

The 38-year-old said: “I was a bit shocked when I heard they were dangerous.

“We get a few of these shells in here but usually the charge is spent.

“Sometimes they have been adapted by soldiers into tankards or candlesticks and they highly collectable. But these shells were used to start engines by firing them to kick start the pistons and were unadapted. Even as scrap brass they are worth £25.”

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When the police arrived they confirmed the shells should be put some where safe and the auction room bosses placed them in the middle of a secluded field for safe keeping.

Bomb disposal experts arrived on Saturday morning to take the shells away for safe disposal.

Mr Ashton said: “You have to be careful with all kinds of militaria and fire arms. Usually it is pretty obvious if a gun or bullet has been decommissioned but - I always avoid the pointy end.”

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