ROMSEY community leaders have reacted to an 18-inch shell that was discovered in a river at the weekend.

As reported, police shut Bypass Road between The Cromwell Arms and A27 on Saturday, following a report of an "unexploded bomb" in the River Test.

The road was closed after officers were alerted to the incident at 2.27pm, where they waited for a military bomb disposal team to perform an x-ray to see if there were any explosives in the device, before removing it.

It was previously believed an unexploded shell or bomb had been found in the River Test next to the Causeway.

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Police later revealed it was an 18-inch shell that was discovered by a magnet fisherman and the road was reopened before 6pm.

Now, one councillor has said the shell could have been "accidentally dropped into the River Test" during World War Two.

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), said: "I am quite sure that all over Great Britain there are small things like shells that were dropped by accident or with intent, but have never exploded, and we do not see them until we get someone like this fisherman who finds it.

"During the war I am quite sure Southampton was targeted and, who knows, it could have been accidentally dropped into the River Test.

"It is one of those things that has probably been around for quite a while and it has just resurfaced."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy BaverstockCllr Dorothy Baverstock

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Romsey mayor, Cllr Janet Burnage, said: "I was surprised to initially hear that after all this time there could be a bomb in the River Test, bearing in mind that part of the river is well-maintained.

"But I was reassured to read it was a shell that was found, not a bomb."

Cllr John Parker, who represents the Romsey Tadburn ward, said: "I think one has to take precautionary measures if anything suspicious is found and I am glad the emergency services did what they needed to do.

"I have not heard of anything like this around the Romsey area before, because you normally find [these devices] in places like ports, but you never know because they do turn up in strange places."

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr John ParkerCllr John Parker

A spokesperson from Hampshire police said: "We were called at 2.27pm on Saturday, 5 September after a member of the public found a piece of historic ordnance in the River Test, Romsey.

"Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) attended and an x-ray revealed no explosive within. The item was made safe by them and removed."