VIDEO: The scenes during a bomb alert at Ben Ainslie’s Portsmouth race base

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VIDEO footage shows the scenes when navy bomb disposal experts were called to the site of Sir Ben Ainslie’s race base after workers found part of a shell.

Contractors working at the Camber Dock in Old Portsmouth called police yesterday after spotting the Second World War shell tip.

They had been preparing to lay foundations for the Ben Ainslie Racing America’s Cup headquarters.

Police imposed a 100m exclusion zone while sailors examined the shell, which The News understands did not contain any explosives.

Zoe Davenport, of Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, was working at home when neighbours came round after they were evacuated from their home near the site.

She said bomb scares are not unheard of in the area.

She said: ‘They’re quite common down here.

‘We’ve been here for 10 years and this is the third – they often wash up at the Hot Walls.’

Police officers were stopping people entering Broad Street from High Street and the surrounding area.

Frances Wyatt, 74, of Westfield Road, Southsea, said: ‘I went to get the bus and the police said there’s been an unexploded bomb found.’

Former Royal Navy sailor Russell Best, 55, of High Street, Old Portsmouth, was allowed through to his home.

He said: ‘I was just coming down from work. My wife phoned me in the car and said there’s a Second World War bomb.

‘They’re generally handled very professionally by the navy or the army.’

The Anglican cathedral in Old Portsmouth was opened to offer shelter to anyone who cannot go back to their home.

The device was found at around 3.30pm yesterday.

The exclusion zone was reduced to the immediate area around the building site for Sir Ben’s race base before then being lifted shortly afterwards.

Bomb disposal experts were seen putting a metal object into the back of their van before leaving.

Jonathan Goring, who works on the America’s Cup project, said: ‘We had a pile probing process – having a bit of a poke around before we started piling.

‘It was under the concrete slabs – it was under there for 60 years.

‘It wasn’t an unexploded bomb, it was the tip of a shell.’

He said because of the area’s history workers were looking out for any ordnance.

Sir Ben is building his base as part of an £80m project.




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