Bailiffs are used to being called in to deal with unpaid debts, but even they sometimes need to call in experts in other fields – such as bomb disposal, for instance.
During a recent garage clearance in Tessall Lane, in the Northfield area of Birmingham, bailiffs found a pair of live WWI 4.5-inch Howitzer artillery shells.
The incident was on November 3rd, but these were fireworks nobody wanted to see go off, so the local Explosive Ordnance Division or EOD were called in.
A tweet on the Birmingham South Response profile gave the first news of the situation, as at 5:20pm the account’s operators said: “Our good friends from EOD presently helping us out with an artillery shell find. More details and photos to follow shortly.”
Little more than half an hour later, at 5:57pm, there was a further two-part update: “Following a garage clearance, two WWI 4.5-inch Howitzer shells found at an address Tessall Lane, Northfield.
“No threat to residents and the ever-efficient EOD have dealt and taken the shells away for destruction.”
These tweets were accompanied by a photograph showing the two shells in their original position in the garage, surrounded by toolkits and upturned paint buckets, and the other ordinary things anybody might have lying around.
Comments made in response to the tweets noted the significance of the timing, just days before November 11th in the centenary year of the outbreak of World War I, and speculated on whether they might have been made locally at the Austin/Rover works.
For the bailiffs though, this is one item they were probably very happy not to have to remove by hand, and it might be for the best that they visited the property at all, to discover the shells and have them safely disposed of.