Durban cops defuse bomb found in tramp’s trolley

2013-03-08 00:00

A HOMELESS man wheeling a trolley full of scrap metal sparked panic in Durban yesterday when a mortar bomb was discovered among his wares.

The live ordnance, thought to date from the time of WW2, was defused by the police bomb squad.

But the find caused a few nervy moments for security company staff who were called to the scene in Durban North at about midday.

Desmond Daniels, a sales representative for security firm UDI Electronics, arrived with his armed response colleagues and said the bomb had them on edge.

“We were concerned it might go off. It could have gone off at any time,” he said.

Daniels said a member of the public had alerted them to a suspicious man carting scrap metal along the road in the upmarket suburb.

The security team approached the metal collector and made the alarming discovery when they searched through his trolley.

A passing police van merely confirmed the device was a bomb, said Daniels, and so they called the emergency 10111 hotline.

The bomb squad was ordered to the scene.

In the meantime, the bomb had been removed from the trolley and placed — very carefully — on a patch of ground at the corner of Romsey Grove and Collard Road.

Daniels said the bomb disposal unit retrieved the mortar with a robotic device and placed it in a container before taking it away.

“The police said it was live and possibly from WW2.

“They still use them as roadside bombs in Pakistan,” he said.

And the scrap metal collector?

“He disappeared down the road; we never saw him again,” added Daniels.

Presumably, his fear got the better of him after police questioned him because police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the man told them he found the bomb in a field at Greenwood Park yesterday.

“He did not have the faintest clue what he was carrying. It could have ended very badly.”

Mdunge confirmed the bomb was old, possibly from WW2.

But he added it was live, and was defused by experts.

“The origin [of the bomb] is not known. It’s not the type of mortar bomb that has been used in recent times,” he added.

“We will have to check where it came from and how it ended up in the spot that it did.”

Mdunge speculated the bomb may have been buried for years in the field and became uncovered through natural soil erosion.

He said the mortar packed a “powerful” blast and had the potential to cause numerous and serious injuries, if not fatalities.

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