Two magnet fishers pulled a live mortar bomb dating back to the Boer War out of the River Aire, sparking chaos in Leeds City Centre.
Dave Pearce, from Roundhay, had only been magnet fishing for a matter of weeks when he pulled out a 18lb mortar in Leeds city centre today.
They were standing by the railings under Crown Point bridge when he made the incredible find.
-> Live updates as bomb squad called to Crown Point Bridge in Leeds city centre
“It just felt average size,” Dave said. “We didn’t realise it was until we posted it online. We thought it could be something innocent like a gas canister or something.”
There is a thriving online community of magnet fishers who were able to identify the item.
His friend Ian Platt said: “We posted the photos online and within two minutes he got a reply saying it’s probably a mortar bomb - get out of there.”
They also found what is thought to be a brass cup, emblazoned with swastikas.
The police were called shortly after 11am and Crown Point Bridge and the stretch of the canal under it, where the bomb was left, were cordoned off.
The bomb squad arrived at around 2.30pm. Officers confirmed the bomb was from the Boer War, fought between the British Empire and two Boer states from 1899-1902, and that it was live.
-> Bomb squad called to carry out explosion on Boer War bomb at Crown Point Bridge in Leeds
After hearing the news from a bomb squad officer, Dave said: “I was juggling it around earlier.”
Ian added: “People are finding things like this all over the country and have caused scenes like this too.”
The pair said they unusual hobby has grown in popularity over the past few years.
“My kids saw magnet fishing on Youtube before Christmas and they were really keen so I got them some magnets for Christmas, but because they’re at school I’ve come,” Dave added.
“We called the police and they said ‘don’t touch it, don’t move it, just leave it where it is’. They were here within about 15 minutes.”