THREE youngsters caught more than they bargained for when they happened upon a live grenade while fishing.
Luke Sturgess, 12, his cousin Charlotte Tuggey, nine, and friend Dion Evans, 16, were fishing in the canal near the bridge by the Old Trooper pub in Christleton on Saturday when they disovered the potentially deadly Second World War relic.
At the time the young trio did not know what the object was but, fortunately, Luke had the idea of sending his mum Dawn a picture to see if she could tell what it was.
And thanks to the expertise of her former soldier brother-in-law Martin Tuggey, it was quickly identified.
Within hours a quiet family weekend had turned into a serious drama as bomb disposal experts arrived to detonate the live device in a field off the A41 near the Cheshire Cat pub.
Dawn said: “My parents are up for the weekend and my sister is round with her husband Martin, Charlotte’s dad, who used to be in the army.
“The kids had gone magnet fishing as it is something Luke likes to do but within 10 minutes they had sent me a picture of what looked like a grenade.
“I showed it to Martin who agreed and he got in the car straight away to head there while I told Luke to tell them all to move away from it.
“We called the police and they arrived to cordon off the bridge, and wait for the bomb squad to come out but at this point we didn’t know it was live.”
Eventually they were then told that the bomb was a Russian hand grenade known as an F1 fragmentation grenade.
Dawn added: “We sat at the pub and had a drink while we watched it all unfold as we wanted to see how it would end.
The live hand grenade discovered by Luke Sturgess, 12 and his two friends
“Then the cordoned area started to get bigger and bigger until they had cut off Pepper Street.
“I asked a policewoman whether we could keep it if it was a dud as Luke likes collecting these things, but she said no, because it was live and they were going to be detonating it.
“We then saw the flashing lights of the bomb lorry coming down the A41. They dug a hole in the field and then it went off – it was much bigger than anyone expected and was even heard in Waverton.
“Unless someone has moved it, it’s incredible to think it could have been lying there for 70 years or so.”
Inspector Daniel Greenhalgh, Cheshire Police’s critical incident manager, took charge of the situation.
A police spokesman said traffic disruption was unavoidable when the grenade was exploded, but as it was live, it could have gone off at any time.
Police confirmed the bomb was an F1 Russian fragmentation grenade and thanked the public for their patience in the area throughout the incident.
See full story in the Chester Leader