Boy, ten, finds mortar shell in woods near Chichester

Bomb disposal experts were called to investigate
Bomb disposal experts were called to investigate

A mum has praised Chichester Forest School for their safety procedures after her son found a mortar shell from the Second World War on a day out.

Ten-year-old Sam Read, who goes to Funtington Primary School, was excited to discover the bomb in Kingley Vale, but knew not to touch it and told his teacher instead.

Police and bomb disposal units were called and the ordinance, although non-explosive, was dealt with safely.

His mum Hannah, who lives in Hambrook, said Sam had been going to Kingley Vale for the past three years but this was the first time he had found something of the kind.

She said: “All the children are told by the Forest School not to touch anything metal that they find, so they all know what the site has been used for and the chance of finding something is rare.

“I think it just goes to show what a good job the Forest School does that Sam knew what to do and not to touch it.”

Forest School director Julia Shepherd said there were risk assessments for all forest activities to make sure children were safe.

She said: “It’s very exciting for them because it’s shows the whole historic issues of Kingley Vale in another dimension but they do not touch motars.

“We give them a big talk, especially in what they look like and it’s very rare that one would be found.”

Site manager for Natural England Steve Walker said the land had been cleared of munitions in the 1990s, but around three to five mortars turned up a year.

He said: “They will give me a call, tape it off, police go out to the site and verify it and then get bomb disposal to detonate it.

“In this instance then the bomb squad looked at it, they found it was partially detonated already so it wasn’t blown up.”

He said that anyone who found a mortar shell should not attempt to move it, make a note of its location and call police on 101.