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Danger UXB on the Moors

A mountain rescue team has warned outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers of unexploded shells near a popular Peak District path.

Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team was called on Monday after a member of the public found the bomb near the Cut Gate path, which runs from Langsett to Slippery Stones at the head of the Upper Derwent Valley.

Members of the Royal Engineers bomb disposal squad destroyed the shell in a controlled explosion that left a huge crater.

A rescue team spokesman said any walkers who had touched the shell, an 18 pounder from a field gun, would have been killed.

The area on Midhope Moor was formerly an Army firing range.

Woodhead MRT was alerted about 2pm on Monday. Media officer Scott Roberts said this is common in the area.

He said: “We went up initially to confirm there was something there, which happens all the time.

“Members of the public don’t always give us an accurate grid reference or GPS fix, so we will search for it; find it; confirm what it is, and take photographs and send it back to South Yorkshire Police and they will also pass it on to the bomb disposal teams.”

When they found the shell, using a standard line search, they immediately cordoned off the area and notified South Yorkshire Police.

Woodhead MRT landrover

Mr Roberts, one of three ex-military members of the Woodhead team, said: “We cordoned the area until last light, until there was nobody on the peaks really, then we went out again at first light on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, I think mainly due to the jubilee celebrations on Monday, there were no bomb disposal experts available so the team was deployed again on Tuesday morning and waited for a bomb disposal team from the Royal Engineers.”
Callouts to ordnance finds are common for Woodhead MRT
He said the bomb disposal team was flown on to the moor about 9.30am. He added: “They were helicoptered in by South Yorkshire Police and when they inspected the shell it was found to be live and very very volatile and had to be dealt with by a controlled explosion.

“They did their checks and it was about 10.30 or 11am when they carried out the controlled explosion.”

The shell contained about 9kg of high explosive.

Mr Roberts issued the following advice to walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the area: “If they do find anything do not touch it.

“Take a reference, either a grid reference or a GPS point, and call the emergency services immediately. Don’t think it’s necessarily going to be spent. This one proved not to be spent.

“They are very volatile; they have been sitting there for 60 years and still have a high amount of explosive in them. It would, without doubt, have been fatal to a walker.

“The damage it has done to the area is frightening.”

Over the two days, 25 Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team members were involved in the operation.

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