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Houses in Plymouth bomb blast zone could be BLOWN UP: Homeowners told to ‘prepare for the worst’ and given just one hour to collect their belongings – but steadfast residents still refuse to leave as military prepare to detonate unexploded Nazi munition


Plymouth homeowners have been warned that their homes may be destroyed as bomb experts decide whether to detonate an unexploded Nazi bomb found in a garden.

In a meeting the with her two neighbours, the homeowner was told to prepare for the worst her father has said.

The residents were allowed into their houses for one hour to pack up all their belongings.

With the help of 25 Royal Navy recruits, members of the army and other residents, the homeowners filled removal vans provided by the council. 

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. 

A police officer speaks to a member of the public after homes are left empty

A police officer speaks to a member of the public after homes are left empty

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 being evacuated yesterday

Teresa Cork and her cat being evacuated yesterday

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 replastered 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

Residents raised concerns that they hadn't organised any accommodation

Residents raised concerns that they hadn’t organised any accommodation

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 multi pet/pets with additional needs to simply ‘get out’.’

Another said: ‘I have two cats and 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 309m cordon have been forced to take precious belongings

Residents inside the new 309m 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 it’s 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.

After police refused to let her back onto her street, Katy Howarth said she was forced to borrow money to pay for a journey to her parent’s house with nothing but her medications and the clothes they’d been wearing all day.



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