December 10 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, October 6, 2013
A popular seaside museum was evacuated after a concerned member of the public handed in an unexploded flare he had found on the beach.
Staff at the Mo Sheringham Museum were given the pyrotechnic yesterday and made the decision to clear visitors as a precaution, and close the building 20 minutes early while they waited for police
The hand held orange smoke flare was placed in a safe location, outside the museum where it could not be tampered with by passers by, until police arrived.
A dog walker, who had been out with his wife, found the flare at around 4.10pm on the seafront between Sheringham and West Runton. It was unexploded and well past its expiry date.
A large group of school children on a field trip were working nearby on the beach and with no mobile phone signal to call the coastguard, the man decided to take the device to the nearest public building where help could be reached.
The Mo was the closest public building open and the man handed the flare into museum manager Philip Miles.
Mr Miles said: “It took a couple of seconds to register what he had in his hand. I remembered seeing the lifeboats searching a couple of weeks back after a flare went off, and then reading in the EDP about the unexploded flares destroyed on West Runton beach, and how dangerous they were due to their age and condition.
“When the gentleman said he had found it on West Runton beach, I asked to see the expiry date. When I saw 1994, I decided it would be safer if the flare wasn’t inside the building!
“We’ve had fossils from the beach handed in before but never an unexploded flare.”
Police soon arrived and confirmed the flare was still live, but because it had its safety clip in place and had already travelled down the beach, it was made safe at the scene.
Officers used tape to fix the safety pin in place and took the flare to a secure area for safe disposal, away from the seafront.
The museum was open as normal today.