AN unexploded World War II drill mine discovered by a trawler in Looe has been safely detonated by the Royal Navy bomb disposal team. 

Looe police responded to a report that a ‘device’ had been caught on Thursday (January 11) in the nets of a local fishing vessel which was moored on the Quay in East Looe. 

A spokesperson from the Coastguard explained: “The alarm was raised at about 12.45pm. Looe Coastguard Rescue Team and Devon and Cornwall Police attended as well as a Navy explosive ordnance disposal team.” 

A spokesperson from Devon and Cornwall Police added: “Due to the size of the item, our colleagues from the coastguard and the Looe Harbour Commissioners Office assisted them in establishing cordons to keep the public safe and were aided further by local businesses.” 

Once at the scene, the Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team confirmed the device was a suspected underwater drill mine from the WWII era. They added that it had the potential to hold between 500kg to 1,000kg of high explosive. 

The Royal Navy bomb disposal team said: “A team of Royal Navy Divers from Bravo Diving Unit 1 (BDU1), based in HMNB Devonport were called out to a suspected item of ordnance onboard a fishing trawler in Looe Harbour. 

The Royal Navy bomb disposal team continued: “Upon inspection it was deemed safe to move and with the assistance of the vessels crew the item was moved from the harbour and lowered to the seabed in a location south of Plymouth breakwater.” 

The decision was made that the device should be detonated the following day. 

The Royal Navy bomb disposal team continued: “On Friday, January 12, a render safe procedure was carried out by the team which involved a controlled underwater explosion.

“Following a subsequent inspection, the item was discovered to be an inert Drill Mine which is identical in size and shape to the real thing and was unable to be initially identified due to the age and deteriorated state of the item.  “The team would like to thank the Master of the vessel, Devon and Cornwall Police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for their assistance with the task.”