Bomb disposal re enroute as police advise public are asked to avoid the Woolacombe Esplanade area following discovery of possible unexploded bomb

The Esplanade at Woolacombe has been cordoned off after a potential land mine was discovered this morning (Friday).

Traffic reports say the Esplanade is closed 'due to a police incident' around Rockfield Road.

Woolacombe Tourist Information centre tweeted: 'Breaking news... an unexploded bomb has been uncovered on the Parade House site on The Esplanade'.

A police statement said: "Police alerted at 10am to the discovery by contractors of what is thought to be unexploded ordnance at Parade House, Woolacombe.

"The device is rusty. The contractors were advised to leave the area and have done so. Police have established a 100 metre cordon around the area.

"As there is likely to be some disruption the public are advised to avoid the area for the time being. The Ministry of Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team are en route to examine the item."

Update 12.27pm: Woolacombe TIC reports the police tape has been taken down and the road is now open again.

Update 12.55pm: North Devon Sector Inspector Roger Bartlett confirmed the device was thought to be a land mine and a cordon remained around the site, though the road had been reopened. The suspect object is around nine inches in diameter, he said. The ETA for bomb disposal is thought to be around 2.20pm this afternoon.

Update 1.40pm: A Gazette reader told us that speaking to a previous owner he discovered an incendiary device had previously been found in the garage area of the site. It is thought this area was used as a gun emplacement during the Second World War to cover the beaches against enemy landings. The rivets where the gun was placed were still visible in recent times.

The suspected land mine in situ. Picture: Devon & Cornwall PoliceThe suspected land mine in situ. Picture: Devon & Cornwall Police

Update 3.20pm: The Ministry of Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team has attended the scene and announced that the item will be removed for safe disposal.

Check back for more information as we have it.