A BOMB disposal unit was called to Hexham’s Tyne Green over the weekend after a suspected Second World War artillery shell was recovered from the river by a magnet fisher.

An area of the popular park was cordoned off on Saturday evening after police were alerted to the find from Mandy Hayward, of Dunston, and her son-in-law Jamie Rogers.

Mandy, who only started magnet fishing whilst furloughed from her job as a school support worker, said: “Being on furlough, I have been trying to find things to do. I have always had a faint dream of finding something that would make me famous or worth millions. It’s exciting, you don’t know what’s coming up. You get a bit of a buzz of it.”

And what did come up, she could never have anticipated.

Pulling the magnet out of the water after a friendly competition with Jamie, who is a keen kayaker, Mandy could feel the pull of something “canny heavy” on the other end.

“I pulled out a projectile shaped increment and thought, it can’t be”, she said. “I pulled it off the magnet in disbelief and tried to rub it for identifying markings.”

As a member of magnet fishing sites on social media, Mandy shared a picture of her find and was immediately instructed by a an ex-military personnel to contact the police for fear the shell could still be live.

She added: “I rang 999 and moved it under a tree near the boathouse. I know you shouldn’t handle these things, but I wasn’t going to leave it next to children playing. I’m a parent myself.

“When the bomb squad arrived, they told me it hadn’t been fired, but it was a World War Two live missile. It was a very exciting family day-out and I now have bragging rights in my magnet group after only doing it a couple of months.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “A team of specialists were deployed from Catterick to assess the shell and safely remove it from the area.”