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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 May 2006, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Bomb evacuees allowed back home
The bomb found in Friars Road, Mudeford
The bomb was removed from the garden and blown up by the army
Thousands of residents have been allowed to return to their homes after Army bomb disposal experts removed a World War II device found in a garden.

The unexploded 500lb (227kg) German bomb was dug up in Christchurch, Dorset, on Friday by builders laying the foundations for an extension.

About 3,500 people were asked to leave their homes during Friday and Saturday.

The bomb was taken to Lulworth military range 25 miles away and a controlled explosion was carried out on Sunday.

Residents thanked

Dorset Police said bomb disposal experts spent the night making the device safe before it was transported to the army base in the early hours of the morning, blown up and disposed of shortly before 0800 BST.

The bomb had been buried 3ft (90cm) below ground but was discovered when the builders exposed its tail fin.

A spokesperson for the 33 Engineer Regiment disposal team said: "After 60 years in the ground clearly the condition of the bomb was uncertain until we had investigated.

House in Friars Road where the bomb was found

"The initial stages of such operations are potentially dangerous because you don't know what precisely what you are dealing with."

Acting Ch Insp Tim Lumley said: "We would like to thank all of the residents who co-operated during this difficult time which has caused a lot of people considerable inconvenience.

"Their assistance has helped all the agencies involved to deal with this matter safely and swiftly.

"I would particularly like to thank the Army bomb disposal experts who have worked tirelessly at all hours of the day and night to make the device safe, at no small risk to themselves."

A 200m (about 220yds) exclusion zone was set up around the site on Friday and all homes in the zone were evacuated.

Police extended the exclusion zone to 600m (about 650yds) on Saturday.

Letters were sent to residents advising them to leave their properties and giving them safety advice.

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21 May 06 |  North Yorkshire
Huge WWII bomb found in garden
19 May 06 |  Dorset
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16 May 06 |  Merseyside

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