Police tape © Rex Shutterstock© Rex Shutterstock

Police were called to deal with an unexploded mortar shell at the East Kent Ploughing Match this week, resulting in a section of the site being closed off and a controlled explosion carried out.

According to ploughing association chairman Simon Phillips, the shell was found by a visitor to the event at Grant Farm, Nonington, near Dover.

“The Second World War device was lying on oilseed rape stubble that had been disced about three weeks ago and a member of the public stumbled upon it,” he said.

See also: 65 farmers compete in ploughing match

“It’s not that unusual for these shells to emerge, given whereabouts in the country we are.

“Just about every farmer around here has found one at some point or other.”

Controlled explosion

Mr Phillips said the police arrived promptly and, within an hour of them arriving, a controlled explosion was carried out.

“We always start the ploughing competition with a rocket, so members of the public thought that it was just another rocket going off.

“Fortunately, it was at the end of the site, not in the middle of it, so there was no need to close the ground or evacuate people.”

A police statement confirmed officers attended the scene at 11.20am.

“The explosive ordinance disposal unit was in attendance and the device was detonated at 1.31pm the same day.”

In total, it is estimated there were more than 4,000 people in attendance, to watch some 70 competitors take part in the ploughing, and enjoy a range of other activities in the main ring and around the trade stands.