A RECYCLING centre in the New Forest was placed in lockdown yesterday after the discovery of a military shell.

The explosive was identified at Efford Household Waste Recycling Centre in Lymington when Alex Thompson-Armstrong’s stepfather went to throw out items ahead of a house move.

The Army’s explosive ordnance disposal team was called to the scene to carry out a controlled explosion to deal with the incident after the area had been evacuated.

Mr Thompson-Armstrong, 28, who bought the shell on a school trip to Belgium more than 10 years ago, had always believed the piece of ordnance had been deactivated.

It came as a shock when his concerned mother contacted him yesterday morning to explain what had happened.

“I was caught so off guard by it all,” said Mr Thompson-Armstrong.

“My mum contacted me and asked ‘did we have a bomb in the house?’.

“I bought the shell when I was on a school trip back in the day. My stepfather went down the dump with some stuff as they are moving house and he didn’t know what it was. The staff said it was a bomb and cleared the place out.

“I assumed all these shells had been tested before they were sold to people.

“If it is active then we have had a live bomb just sat in our house for more than a decade.”

The recycling centre was closed off to the public throughout the day, with staff marshalling traffic away from the Milford Road facility.

A spokesperson from Hampshire Police said: “We were called at 10.34am to the recycling centre in Milford Road following the discovery of an item suspected to be a piece of old military ordnance.

“Police liaised with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, who disposed of the ordnance via a controlled explosion.”

A Hampshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Efford (Lymington) Household Waste Recycling Centre was evacuated and closed at 10.30am yesterday morning following the discovery of a potentially live military shell.

“The police were notified and took appropriate action.

“We would like to remind members of the public that if they do have items that they suspect may be live ammunition that they should contact their local police station to seek advice on how to dispose of them safely.”