What started as a usual day for a British metal detectorist Mark Williams ended up as a live bomb threat earlier this week. 51-year-old Mark discovered a World War II era bomb on a grass bank near his brother’s home in Swaythling, Hampshire. Proud of his discovery, Mark decided to make a few bucks off it and listed the vintage weapon on eBay. Mark posted the weapon on the e-commerce site as ‘WWII German incendiary bomb – genuine, authentic Southampton Blitz.’ However, little did Mark know that the bomb was still well and alive and had the potential to blow up and resulting in torching houses and buildings. According to a DailyMail report, Militaria collector Ralf Sherwin saw the eBay post and raised the alarm after he realised that the bomb was still active. The report mentions that Ralf saw the explosive listing on Monday night, and under its description, Mark had mentioned its condition as ‘used’.
A security consultant by profession, Ralf immediately messaged Mark on eBay and informed him that the bomb is not deactivated. To this, Mark replied and inquired how he knew if the bomb was live. Ralf told Mark that he is a metal detectorist and had dug it up earlier in a kids’ playground in Southampton. Ralf explained to Mark in detail how the bomb is a threat and should not be sold but rather be kept away from people.
However, Mark paid no heed to Ralf’s incessant warnings. He then reported Mark’s bomb listing to Hampshire Police, who found his address and put a 50-metre cordon in place and evacuated families from their homes around Havenstone Way in Swaythling, on Tuesday. After the cordon was put up, firemen and an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team also arrived at the spot.
Speaking to DailyMail, an eBay spokesperson said that life-threatening weapons such as unexploded bombs are not allowed to be listed on the website and they worked closely with Hampshire Police to quickly identify and locate the seller preventing a disaster.