Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Map of affected area
Police have distributed information leaflets to villagers

More than 1,000 people living in two villages in North Yorkshire are to be asked to leave their homes to allow a World War II bomb to be detonated.

The 500lb (227kg) device was found in a field near Ebberston on Sunday by enthusiasts who are excavating a plane which crashed in the area in the 1940s.

Ebberston and nearby Allerston will be evacuated in the afternoon for the bomb to be made safe in a controlled blast.

Police said the primary objective was to ensure the safety of villagers.

An RAF team will be responsible for carrying out the controlled explosion at 1500 BST, police said.

A 300m cordon currently placed around the field where the bomb was found will be extended to more than a kilometre when the detonation takes place.

The nearby A170 will also be closed for a short period.

Leaflets about the evacuation were delivered to Ebberston and Allerton residents on Monday night and buses are being put on to transport people to the village hall at nearby Snainton.

Animals grazing on fields in the affected area are also being moved.

Ivan Ash, 64, who lives in Ebberston said: "It's been known for years that this plane crashed - we think it's a Whitley, 1941.

"The more elderly residents in the village have known about the plane crash for years, and all have their own little tales.

"The surprise, of course, is when somebody's digging round the field and puts a great big bomb in the bucket of a digger.

"The villagers of North Yorkshire are stoic people. They're taking everything in their stride."

Acting Assistant Chief Constable Steve Read said the main objective was to "ensure the safety of people, their animals and their property".

He added: "We rely upon the co-operation of members of the public to assist us to complete this unforeseen but essential operation safely and speedily.

"Disruption to the everyday life of the area will be kept to a minimum."




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