Peterborough magnet fishers thought unexploded Second World War mortar found in the Nene was fence post - before realising the truth

Two magnet fishers who discovered an unexploded Second World War mortar initially thought they had pulled a fence post from the river - before realising exactly what they had found.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 5:00 am
Vinnie-Alan with the device

Vinnie-Alan McKenzie Rowark and Martin Elliott were magnet fishing - where people use magnets to recover metal from rivers and ponds - on the Embankment on Monday evening when they made the discovery.

After initially not thinking much of their find, a closer examination revealed the item was much more dangerous than they first realised, and the bomb squad were called.

Speaking to The Peterborough Telegraph, 32-year-old Vinnie-Alan said: “We found the device around 6pm. We thought it was a fence post, until we tried to clean it and saw it said 29mms written on.

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Martin Elliott

“We messaged other magnet fishers and did research and a lot of them said to call police as it’s a Second World War blacker bombard spigot mortar. We called police at 6.05pm and they put it down as immediate response,”

While Vinnie-Alan has been magnet fishing for six years - and has his own magnet fishing Facebook page, ‘Drag the Mag,’ and Martin has his own Youtube Channel about the subject, ‘Peterborough Magnet Fishing,’ they said they have never found anything like the mortar before.

Vinnie Alan said: “I’ve been magnet fishing nearly six years. I’ve found scrap, knifes, guns, bullets a sword and safes, and I recently found a Castrol motor oil sign which I sold at auction.”

After the bomb disposal team were called, the mortar was made safe before it was taken to Eye - in a location as far from people and buildings as possible - where it was detonated.

The device was found on Monday
The device was found on Monday