Reminder to users of Devon’s recycling centres after ‘unexploded ordnance’ found

Posted on: 8 November 2016

A reminder is being issued to users of Devon County Council’s recycling centres to think about the waste which they are taking to the sites, so as not to waste Council and Police time.

It follows the discovery of what police describe as ‘unexploded ordnance’  in the general waste skip at a recycling centre in Totnes today (Tuesday 08 November).

A cardboard box was found in the residual waste container, and when a staff member went to remove this and put it in the cardboard skip he noticed the “unexploded ordnance” along with some spent bullets.

The centre was closed for a few hours and Police were called to the site to examine the ordnance, which was later removed by the Bomb Squad.

Recycling Centres aren’t new to such suspicious or potentially dangerous finds, which have prompted temporary site closures while they’re investigated.

Last year Devon County Council’s recycling centre near Honiton called the Police after finding what appeared to be a human skull, but what later transpired to be a skull used for educational purposes.

Also last June, marine flares were taken to the recycling centre at Punchbowl in Crediton by a member of the public, and in the same month, a tank mortar shell was found in a bucket of metal items at Bideford recycling centre. Both sites had to be evacuated and closed for a number of hours while bomb disposal experts removed the items.

Devon County Council is issuing a reminder to people, asking them to think twice about some items that might appear to be suspicious or potentially dangerous.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for the cllr-roger-croadEnvironment, said:

“We occasionally have incidents where the centres have had to be closed either due to potentially hazardous items being brought in by members of the public, or items which have caused concern. These closures have been avoidable, and have wasted valuable time and resources of the Police and Bomb Disposal teams, as well as that of our own staff.

“Some people may consider something that’s been sat in their loft or garden shed for years as completely harmless, but it’s a question of perception, so we would like to remind people to check and think about what they’re planning to take to the recycling centre. Wherever possible, it would help if members of the public could make staff on site aware of anything unusual they may have brought to the site.

“Otherwise it causes unnecessary disruption and inconvenience for other site users and, even more seriously, it can also put site staff at risk of injury. However, flares, fireworks and ammunition should never be brought to our recycling centres.”

For advice on disposing of flares, fireworks or ammunition contact your local Police/Coastguard station.

You can contact the customer service centre (0345 155 1010) or visit our website for advice on the materials you can/cannot take to the recycling centre.

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Posted in: Community | Environment