A DIVER discovered a Second World War rifle in the waters at Mudeford – after trying to find a stranger's watch.
Jonathan Lelliott took to the water in a bid to retrieve the timepiece but in the process found a Lee Enfield Rifle at The Run, Mudeford Quay.
The rifle, which was standard issue to army soldiers fighting in both World Wars, has been handed over to the police.
Jonathan located the firearm on his second dive after recovering the misplaced watch and returning it to its grateful owner, Simon Davey.
The retired police diver drove down from Sussex after responding to Simon's plea for help on social media and he found the watch within a matter of minutes.
Using professional equipment required for diving in fast flowing water, Jonathan told the Daily Echo: “I have been diving professionally for many years and the conditions at The Run are not to be taken lightly.
“Luckily I was able to find Simon's watch within a few minutes of searching.”
Mr Davey, who was on holiday in the area with his family, saw the watch fall from his wrist as he attempted to net a crab.
He planned on one day giving the watch to his son and was relieved when his friend surfaced after a successful dive.
“I honestly didn’t think he was going to find it with the speed of the current and it looks sandy so it would be buried or towed away", he said.
“I was over the moon when John popped up with the watch and it’s still working.”
Having travelled to Dorset, Mr Lelliott wanted to make the most of his trip and he attempted to find a lady’s prescription sunglasses before discovering the army rifle nestled in the silt.
“Visibility was down to a few inches, so when I picked up the gun I had to be careful trying to see what I was holding,” he added.
“As a police diver I had training in weapon recovery and it became obvious this rifle was quite old.
“I hope that it can be returned to me in the future, suitably deactivated and certified, which will allow me to retain it. It was certainly one of my most interesting finds since becoming a diver.”