METAL detectorist Wayne Elson has moved to allay his neighbours’ fears after he brought home a live bomb.
The army bomb squad had to carry out a controlled explosion near Mr Elson’s Waterlooville home on Saturday morning following his first trip out with his new metal detector.
Since then his neighbours in the wider Hambledon Road area have branded the 49-year-old’s actions and comments as ‘irresponsible’.
They also complained that there was a party at the house while the bomb was on the drive overnight on Friday.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: ‘What on earth was he thinking?
‘His throwaway comment about possibly finding a bigger bomb next time did not exactly fill us with confidence.
‘As you can imagine, people in the surrounding area are very worried about his irresponsible behaviour.
‘Most incredibly of all he allowed his daughters to go ahead with a party knowing full well that there was a potentially lethal bomb near his home.’
Mr Elson found the German Second World War incendiary just a week after he bought the £180 kit.
He was scouring the woods a mile away from his home when he found the bomb jutting six inches out of the ground.
Mr Elson said he did not realise what it was and pulled it from the ground before popping it in his van and driving home.
But, after his wife Julie suggested it might be a bomb, he searched online to double check and called in the police.
The bomb disposal unit detonated it the following day in a nearby field.
Mr Elson said he was actually doing the community a favour.
‘I had no idea it was a bomb when I brought it home,’ he said.
‘I thought it was just a lump of aluminium. There’s no way I would deliberately put people at risk.
‘My daughter did have a few friends round but the bomb was on the drive and they were all out the back, they didn’t even get close to it.
‘Imagine what would have happened if it was picked up by a child or a dog instead of me? It was disposed of safely.’