Bomb scare as town centre cordoned off after hand grenade donated to Oxfam

An entire town centre had to be closed and shops evacuated after a hand grenade was donated to an Oxfam charity shop.

A bomb squad rushed to the scene in Otley, West Yorkshire, after the device was discovered amongst a pile of donations which shop volunteers were sorting through at around 1pm on Monday, August 17.

Thankfully the grenade was found not to be live and the town centre was reopened to the public at around 3.30pm.

Alex Leggat, who is a volunteer at the Boroughgate shop, said: "It was an old hand grenade but they couldn't be sure whether or not it was live. Someone had brought it back from a school battlefield trip.

"Luckily a PCSO was walking by and he contacted the police. Eventually the bomb squad came and took it away."

He said the hand grenade had been discovered by another volunteer and they had no idea who had brought it in.

"Because of the system we operate people are handing in donations and they are put into quarantine for three days," he told The Telegraph & Argus.

"When the volunteer came to sort the donations they found it. It was in a bag labelled hand grenade brought back from a school battlefield trip

"As it happens it was fortunate that the PCSO was walking by and they dealt with it very efficiently.

He said all the shops were evacuated on both sides of the road and the street was closed off to traffic.

"I think they did a good job – you have to be safe rather than sorry," he added.

He stressed: "We don't normally accept any ammunition of any sort."

First West Yorkshire tweeted about the incident: "Otley Bus Station and surrounding roads closed due to a bomb scare.

"Delays expected due to traffic gridlock."

In a later update, First said the police cordon in the area had been reduced and access was now available to the bus station and services would revert to the normal route.

West Yorkshire Police wrote in a tweet: "Police received a report of a rusted hand grenade found among donations to a charity shop in Boroughgate, Otley.

"Safety cordon put in place pending arrival of Army bomb disposal experts.

"They removed the item which was believed to be a harmless battlefield souvenir."

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