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Get out of Plymouth NOW: World watches as army begins nerve-shredding process of carrying live Nazi bomb through streets of Devon city and dropping it into sea after ‘largest post-war evacuation’ (but just half a mile away, it’s time for a pint! )


The world is watching as army experts begin the nerve-jangling process of carrying a live Nazi bomb through the streets of Plymouth after one of the largest ever UK peacetime evacuations – while locals used the incident as an excuse for a pint. 

Hundreds of offices, shops, schools and houses have been cleared to allow an Army convoy to move the 500kg Second World War ordinance through the naval city.

Experts decided the bomb – found by a father digging the foundations for his daughter’s new extension – would cause too much damage if they detonate it where it lies, potentially destroying multiple homes and risking lives.  

Instead, the explosive is being driven slowly through Plymouth’s narrow streets on the back of a lorry – with 1,200 properties cleared and a 300-metre cordon put in place to reduce the risk of disaster. 

But just half a mile away from the exclusion zone, locals gathered in a pub to enjoy an afternoon pint – while one man even moved nearer the area to enjoy a cider ‘in solidarity’. 

Despite the blanket evacuation order text being sent to at least 3,250 people today, Devon and Cornwall Police have admitted they can’t ‘force’ people to leave their homes.

One local claiming to be inside the cordon has said he is staying in the bath while the bomb is removed. But a steady flow of people wheeling suitcases, shopping bags and pets have been seen leaving the area on foot today.

Others joked the mass evacuation was the perfect excuse to ‘go to the pub’ and described the experience as ‘very surreal’. Police said the Keyham neighbourhood will be locked down until at least 5pm when the bomb should be safely out to sea.

The bomb will be placed on a boat via the Torpoint Ferry slipway in the city’s world famous Sound and dropped into the Channel and detonated once safely past Plymouth’s breakwater. 

Police and bomb disposals experts stand near a cordon during today's massive operation in Plymouth

Police and bomb disposals experts stand near a cordon during today’s massive operation in Plymouth 

Defence bosses have opted to move the bomb intact by military convoy from its location in St Michael’s Avenue (top right) travelling to the Torpoint ferry landing (bottom left). A 300-metre cordon (in orange) around 1,200 properties along the route has been issued from 2pm to 5pm.

An aerial view showing the house where the bomb was discovered on Tuesday

An aerial view showing the house where the bomb was discovered on Tuesday 

The WW2 bomb will be transported by military convoy to the sea where it will be disposed of by experts

The WW2 bomb will be transported by military convoy to the sea where it will be disposed of by experts

Just half a mile away from the exclusion zone, locals gathered in a pub to enjoy an afternoon pint

Just half a mile away from the exclusion zone, locals gathered in a pub to enjoy an afternoon pint

Just half a mile away from the exclusion zone, locals gathered in a pub to enjoy an afternoon pint 

Local man Paul Blair said he had grabbed a pint near the exclusion zone 'in solidarity'

Local man Paul Blair said he had grabbed a pint near the exclusion zone ‘in solidarity’ 

Alarmed homeowners were told their homes could be blown up today as disposal experts consider whether to detonate an unexploded WW2 bomb

Alarmed homeowners were told their homes could be blown up today as disposal experts consider whether to detonate an unexploded WW2 bomb

Residents have been issued with a 'severe alert' which urges residents to 'stay away' during the Army operation

Residents have been issued with a ‘severe alert’ which urges residents to ‘stay away’ during the Army operation 

The gigantic bomb, dropped by Hitler’s Luftwaffe to target Plymouth nearby naval base and factories in the Blitz, was found by the father of a woman who was digging the foundations for his daughter’s new single-storey extension.

He says she only moved in two weeks ago and aerial pictures of the bomb show it lying on its side less than ten feet from her patio doors.

Well over 1,000 servicemen, police, coastguard and volunteers are involved in the operation. Locals have been told that Plymouth’s leisure centre can be used as an emergency bomb evacuation refuge. 

Others say they will stay in the area to watch the operation if they can – or spend the afternoon in pubs just outside the cordon.

A Russian tourist in Plymouth took to Instagram to show how one pub in the city is packed with locals. She then went for a stroll to Plymouth’s Hoe, which was completely deserted – seemingly oblivious to the bomb scare around two miles away.

A Plymouth City Council spokesman told residents: ‘The military advice is very clear and for your own safety, you need to leave your home and the area of the cordon by 2pm and we anticipate that you will be able to return by 5pm.’ 

Supt Phil Williams of Devon & Cornwall Police said: ‘Over the last few days, our military colleagues have been assessing a device that was found in the garden of a property in Keyham.

‘They’ve reached a decision now after carrying out those assessments that they plan to move that device, rather than detonate in situ. That’s the least impactful option.

‘A new 300-metre cordon will be put in place and the bomb is going to be taken from the address down to a slipway near the Torpoint ferry where it will be taken out to sea and then safely disposed of.’

Supt Williams said the convoy was expected to take 20 minutes to travel from the property to the sea during the three hour operation between 2pm and 5pm. 

Alarmed homeowners had been told their homes could be blown up as disposal experts considered whether to detonate the device. 

Residents in three adjoining homes were given just one hour to empty their properties of all their treasured possessions as the four day Plymouth bomb emergency heads towards a climax.

A squad of 25 Royal Navy recruits plus soldiers and other residents joined forces to urgently fill three large removal vans provided by the council last night.

A Royal Engineers MAN SV Recovery Vehicle that has been deployed to Plymouth today

A Royal Engineers MAN SV Recovery Vehicle that has been deployed to Plymouth today 

Three property owners may have their homes destroyed as the army and bomb experts are brought in to diffuse the Nazi-era device

Three property owners may have their homes destroyed as the army and bomb experts are brought in to diffuse the Nazi-era device

Navy personnel visit homes in Plymouth this afternoon during the evacuation operation

Navy personnel visit homes in Plymouth this afternoon during the evacuation operation 

A police officer stops traffic on one of the road closures near to where the bomb was found

A police officer stops traffic on one of the road closures near to where the bomb was found 

This message greeted people arriving at Plymouth station this afternoon

This message greeted people arriving at Plymouth station this afternoon 

Today locals told of their shock as the emergency text message suddenly appeared on their phones, while others joked it was a good excuse to go to the pub

Today locals told of their shock as the emergency text message suddenly appeared on their phones, while others joked it was a good excuse to go to the pub 

Police officers at a cordon after homes were evacuated near to where the bomb was discovered

Police officers at a cordon after homes were evacuated near to where the bomb was discovered 

A police officer speaks to a member of the public after homes are left empty inside a 309-metre exclusion zone

A police officer speaks to a member of the public after homes are left empty inside a 309-metre exclusion zone

Police officers stand at a cordon after homes were evacuated on Thursday

Police officers stand at a cordon after homes were evacuated on Thursday

Teresa Cork and her cat were evacuated yesterday as the cordon around the bomb was extended to cover more than 1,000 homes

Teresa Cork and her cat were evacuated yesterday as the cordon around the bomb was extended to cover more than 1,000 homes

A 'severe alert' message appears on a man's smartwatch before the bomb disposal operation in Plymouth today

A ‘severe alert’ message appears on a man’s smartwatch before the bomb disposal operation in Plymouth today 

The man who found the bomb as he was digging in his daughter’s back garden fears the property will be sacrificed as local worry insurance firms may not pay up to cover any damage.

On Thursday he told PlymouthLive: ‘Last night my daughter and her two neighbours were brought together for a meeting where they were effectively told to prepare that all three houses were going to be destroyed.

Before leaving, the dad took one last look at the bomb noting that ‘not a single sandbag has been put on it yet’.

The homeowner’s father,  who had discovered the bomb with a builder while digging for foundations in preparation for a house extension, fears the property will be sacrificed – leaving his daughter house hunting all over again.

He said: ‘She only lived in the house for a few weeks.

‘I’ve been helping out, doing DIY, sorted out a bedroom for her.

‘We got four rooms re-plastered and were working on the extension for the kitchen.

‘In all I think we’ve spent about £15,000 on refurbishing it.

‘So far, my call to the insurance company has been positive and they’ve said they will cover the cost, but I keep hearing people talk about a War Exclusion clause, which is what happened with the recent Exeter bomb case.

‘My hope is they will honour what they’ve said.’

The worried parent added that he has been told the EOD carried out x-ray scans of the bomb and sent the results to a bomb expert to analyse.

Residents carried small suitcases and bags of their belongings as they left their homes

Residents carried small suitcases and bags of their belongings as they left their homes

A police officer speaks to a member of the public after homes were evacuated

A police officer speaks to a member of the public after homes were evacuated

A WW2 German bomb found in a back garden in Plymouth, Devon

A WW2 German bomb found in a back garden in Plymouth, Devon

The bomb cordon zone was extended to 309 metres

The bomb cordon zone was extended to 309 metres

He claimed they discussed possible ‘safe places’ to bring the bomb like a local park but concerns were raised about the risks of moving the device.

The discovery of the bomb in a back garden in Keyham, Plymouth, has turned the lives of locals upside down as at least 3,250 have had to evacuate their homes in an exclusion zone that was extended yesterday to 309 metres.

Officials began knocking on doors at 8am yesterday telling residents in the extended exclusion zone to leave, with people being told to take enough clothes, medical prescriptions or equipment to last a couple of days.

But residents have now been banned from returning to their homes for a fourth day forcing some to depend on the kindness of friends and families or shell out for hotels. 

While others have refused to leave.

Ruth Enoch who lives on Station Road had to move out on Tuesday with her two children, aged nine and six. 

They were taken in by a friend on Station Road just outside the cordon but now that house is inside the new exclusion zone and she and her friend have had to leave.

Ruth had no idea where she will stay or when she can return and her children were back in school yesterday.

She said yesterday: ‘I did not leave with anything on Tuesday. We had five minutes to evacuate, I couldn’t pick anything up. The children are still in their school uniforms, they have been wearing them for two days now. 

Residents took to social media, saying that despite the warnings they were not going anywhere.

One said: ‘Not myself. It’s not that easy for those with multiple pets with additional needs to simply ‘get out’.’

Another said: ‘I have two cats and am unable to take them with me and not prepared to leave them on their own for three days.

Members of HM Coastguard Search and Rescue gather after homes were evacuated today

Members of HM Coastguard Search and Rescue gather after homes were evacuated today

The council asked residents to make arrangements to stay with friends or family

The council asked residents to make arrangements to stay with friends or family

The bomb disposal unit were called to the scene to deal with the bomb on Tuesday

The bomb disposal unit were called to the scene to deal with the bomb on Tuesday

Police worked to evacuate locals with a nearby leisure centre offering support

Police worked to evacuate locals with a nearby leisure centre offering support

‘Plus if it’s that dangerous for me why would I leave my cats here to die alone?

‘If I had somewhere for my cats to go then of course I would go. I don’t want them in danger either but I have no where to take them that’s the reason I’m staying.’

And the police have admitted that the residents can’t be ‘forced’ to leave their homes if they choose to stay put.

Police Inspector Paul Laity said there may be a ‘number of reasons’ people may want to stay in their homes and said ‘if somebody wants to stay, it’s up to them’.

Another resident said they had no legal obligation to leave and would be staying put.

They said: ‘I have seven cats. I spoke to the police this morning and you have no legal obligation to leave it’s just recommended, I am literally about 20 metres away from the line and even if they extend it I’m not leaving, I’ll take responsibility for my choice.’

One wrote: ‘I’ve just had the MOD police around and they are fine about me remaining because of my personal circumstances.

‘They are absolutely lovely, took my number and assured me I’ll be able to get back in when I leave the house to go to an appointment today and tomorrow, and thanked me for making provisions for my disabled son to stay elsewhere.’

Another local resident added: ‘I’m not very well at the moment with serious health issues and waiting for urgent surgery any day, so I’m hoping to stay at home to be honest.

‘PCC are aware that we would need accommodation, if the current advice for us does change, so it’s just a case of being patient & waiting for updates I suppose’.

Another posted: ‘My property falls outside of the cordon, but I’m unable to leave as the access to my street is part of the exclusion zone.

‘PCC are aware that we need accommodation if the advice for us does change.

Residents inside the new 309-metre cordon have been forced to take precious belongings

Residents inside the new 309-metre cordon have been forced to take precious belongings

Hundreds of homes have been left empty as thousands of people have been evacuated

Hundreds of homes have been left empty as thousands of people have been evacuated

Police and ambulance crews were on hand to provide support where needed

Police and ambulance crews were on hand to provide support where needed

Inside Plymouth Life Centre, Devon were prepared for evacuated residents

Inside Plymouth Life Centre, Devon were prepared for evacuated residents

‘I would sooner they help those in the exclusion zone with children first & don’t want to add to the crisis if there’s no need for me to.

A concerned resident argued: ‘Some don’t yet have accommodation sorted and can’t yet leave.

‘The council are working hard but there’s only been a short window of time to help those with disabled family members etc.

‘So stop attacking those ‘refusing’ to leave.

‘It’s more complex than simply grabbing a bag and vacating’.

Someone agreed: ‘Not everyone’s circumstances are the same.

‘Some people would rather go down with the house they’ve worked for all their life as potentially it wouldn’t be covered on insurance without a court battle.

‘Others may not have long enough left to await a new house being built’.

Another local resident added: ‘To be fair, as inconvenient as it may be better than leaving in a body bag. 

Matt Longman, Chief Superintendent at Devon and Cornwall Police, said: ‘It means there’ll be more impact on people and I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be dealing with that.

Bomb disposal vehicle at the scene of a cordon in Plymouth

Bomb disposal vehicle at the scene of a cordon in Plymouth

Emergency services have been on hand to deal with the unexploded munition

Emergency services have been on hand to deal with the unexploded munition 

‘Everybody’s patience that we asked for yesterday has paid off and it has allowed us to get in the best experts we can to get the safest and least disruptive plan as a multi-agency operation.’

It is estimated that at least 1,219 properties have been affected and families have had to find temporary accommodation.

Plymouth City Council is paying for the residents of Keyham to stay in hotels and Airbnbs if they cannot find alternative accommodation.

One mum told the local newspaper that she’d had to shell out £300 on essentials after they were suddenly told to evacuate their homes.

She said she had nothing but the clothes on their backs and her little girl was still in her pyjamas.



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