A BOURNEMOUTH man who started laying a new patio was fascinated to discover a concrete air raid shelter buried underneath his back garden.

When Steve Saywell started ripping up some ageing decking at his Ensbury Park home, he thought it would be a relatively straightforward bank holiday weekend job.

However, that all changed with the discovery of the small concrete bunker.

“It’s not every day you find a bomb shelter buried under your garden,” said the 36-year-old painter and decorator. “To be honest we’re not too sure what to do with it now.”

Steve and pal Adrian Phillips started work on what was going to be new garden patio on Saturday.

“We started to take the decking up to put some new paving slabs down, and then we found this big concrete arch.

“Didn’t think too much of it at the time, until we started taking the back part up and this is when we found the hole with the ladder leading down.”

Steve, who has lived at the property with his wife for seven years, had no idea the concrete bunker was under his garden.

However, his neighbours were able to shed some light on his find.

“One neighbour told us she used to play in it in the late 1960s and early ’70s when she was a young girl,” said Steve. “They used it as a play den and it must have been covered up sometime after that.

“We’re pretty sure it is a World War II air raid shelter, it is about 8ft by 5ft and 10ft deep.”

Once the rubble has been removed Steve says he’d love to get inside to see what it’s like. “Who knows?” he joked. “It could become our new wine cellar.”

He added: “To come across this in your garden is quite interesting but it’s going to cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds if we decide to fill it in.”