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A SHOPPING precinct was evacuated after a wartime shell was donated to a charity shop.

The drama began just before 2pm in Market Parade, Havant, yesterday when a member of staff at Vitalise – which organises holidays for disabled people – was sorting through a box of items donated a week before.

After opening a sealed box they found the shell and immediately called the police.

Officers evacuated all the shops and cordoned off the road. The Royal Naval Bomb Disposal Unit arrived and took the shell away to detonate it safely.

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘Somebody handed in some kind of shell.

‘Apparently it had been sitting there for a week before it’s been noticed.

‘As a precautionary measure we evacuated the store and the flats above.

‘It’s now been declared safe by the bomb disposal team. They think it’s an old World War One capsule.

‘They have taken it away. The cordon has been lifted and everything is back to normal.’

Sue Hewett, owner of Forget Me Not flower shop, said: ‘A policeman came to the door and asked us all to lock up and get out as soon as possible.

‘My first thought was “Oh God” but then moved quickly because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

‘We were standing outside for about an hour in the freezing cold before they let it us know it was safe to go back in.’