Army disposes of mortar

ARMY bomb disposal experts were called in from Brisbane to dispose of a live World War II mortar round found at Piggabeen yesterday.

A Piggabeen resident found the 77mm mortar round at Arthur & Lillian Keys Park, on the corner of Piggabeen Road and Omiah Way, about 2.30pm yesterday.

It is the second time bomb disposal experts from the Enoggera Army Barracks have been called in to deal with live World War II artillery found on the Tweed in the past few months.

Firefighters from the Bilambil Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW Fire Brigade (NSWFB) Tweed Heads station and Tweed police attended the scene yesterday, which they cordoned off for 130 metres in each direction until the bomb disposal experts arrived about 5.15pm.

NSWFB Tweed Heads station officer Leo Ayoub said the person who found the live round did the right thing by immediately contacting authorities. He said with a military background, RFS Bilambil captain Norm Hunt was able to identify the artillery and determine its level of danger.

"It appears to be a 77mm live mortar," said Mr Ayoub, who was at the scene yesterday afternoon.

"It is quite old and we've got the Army Bomb Disposal Unit from Brisbane coming." Authorities described the mortar round as a long cylindrical object, like a very large bullet . A spokesman from the fire brigade late yesterday said the army representatives had removed the mortar round, believed to have been used for target practice in the 1940s, and transported it back to Brisbane for disposal.

He said the situation could have been hazardous if children had found the artillery and begun to play with it. On June 3, a number 36M hand grenade was discovered at a farm at Kynnumboon, near Murwillumbah.

The army bomb disposal experts who travelled from Brisbane deemed the grenade unsafe to move, so they later exploded it on the property under controlled conditions.

One of the army representatives involved in the grenade's disposal told the Tweed Daily News it was not uncommon to find vintage war artillery on old farms and that those who did should contact the police.



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