HUNDREDS of people were evacuated from Swanage beach today following the discovery of World War II grenades on a seafront road building site.
Emergency services cordoned off a section of Swanage’s Shore Road after a number of phosphorus grenades were found– for the second time in less than two months.
At around 6.45pm police said that the incident was over and the cordon had been lifted. It has not yet been confirmed how the grenades were disposed of.
The grenades, thought to be special incendiary – or SIP – grenades were discovered by workmen at the site of the town’s ongoing £2.1m seafront stabilisation scheme.
An undisclosed number of the chemical bottles were found around lunchtime, leading police to cordon off the busy seafront road between Victoria Avenue and Institute Road.
The army bomb disposal team was called to the site.
In May four workmen were taken to hospital after two SIP grenades ignited when they were unearthed at the same site.
The men – construction project manager Rob Hayman and three members of his team - were rushed to hospital as a precautionary measure and later discharged following observations.
On that occasion the Royal Logistics Corps’ Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment carried out a controlled explosion that sent a huge plume of smoke out over Swanage.
Today holidaymaker Julian McIntyre, who was sunbathing on the beach opposite the building site, said: “There was all this noise and then the workmen came off the site. The next thing I know, the police have arrived and the road is getting shut.”
Another sunbather said: “It’s not the first time they’ve found grenades in that area. No-one in the town is surprised as there used to be a military bunker there.”
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service also attended the scene.