MAGNET fishers were shocked when their latest catch from the depths of a pond was found to be a century-old live grenade... which later had to be destroyed by a specialist bomb squad.

The live explosive device was pulled from the waters of Bourne Pond, in Bourne Road, Colchester, on Sunday afternoon.

Adam Fell, 33, was magnet fishing in the pond as part of a three-strong team when he snared the deadly catch.

Also with Mr Fell, from Braintree, were fellow magnet fishers Jackie Wright, 55, and her partner Del Fox, 46, from Colchester.

Dale said: “It was very dirty so we carefully cleaned it and found it had a pin in and a copper wire.

“We looked it up later and found it was a grenade you had to remove the pin from, before turning upside down and banging on a surface to activate.”

Jackie added: “We were really quite calm, as we have seen many videos of similar finds when magnet fishing.

“We called the police straight away and put it somewhere safe.”

The group said magnet fishing is a hobby they would encourage anyone to take up, as not only does it clear up waterways, but it yields exciting finds ranging from safes and jewellery to old war relics and treasures.

Special bomb disposal experts were called in by Essex Police, who were alerted to the discovery at around 5.15pm.

A cordon was put in place around the area while they worked.

Police said the grenade needed to be dealt with safely and the Army bomb disposal unit carried out a controlled explosion at around 11.10pm.

A spokesman issued a warning to residents to stay away but not be alarmed.

He also apologised for the late disruption caused by the detonation on Sunday night but said it was important the grenade was made safe.

He added: “Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

An Army spokesman confirmed the device to be a live high explosive World War One-era grenade.

He urged caution when uncovering such items.

“Destroying the grenade was the safest thing to do as old ammunition can be quite unstable,” he said.

“We would encourage the public to raise the alarm if they have concerns about any suspect items and not to touch them.

“It is better to be safe than sorry.”

He said the grenade was taken to the Middlewick Ranges, where extra sandbags were added to muffle the noise of the controlled explosion so as not to disturb residents.