A controlled explosion has been carried out under water by Royal Navy divers after a World War Two device was discovered in a Northern Ireland lough.
A police spokesperson said: “Following the discovery of a World War Two device in Lough Foyle, close to the Campsie area of Derry-Londonderry, royal navy clearance divers attended the scene this evening (Wednesday) and made the item safe by carrying out a controlled explosion under the water.”
Local utility and travel companies were advised that the explosion would be carried out in advance.
While it is unclear how the World War Two device exploded by the Royal Navy divers on Wednesday ended up in Lough Foyle, war munitions have been known to wash up at the Lough shore on previous occasions.
More than one million tons of weaponry was jettisoned in a deep submarine trench in the Irish Sea between Scotland and Northern Ireland, known as Beaufort’s Dyke.
The trench has been used as a munitions dump since the early part of the last century.
A paper produced by the Fisheries Research Services in Scotland, following investigations into the munitions dump in the 1990s, explains: “After the two world wars, large quantities of surplus munitions were dumped at sea. These munitions, which ranged from small arms to high explosives, were dumped at both charted and specially selected disposable sites.
“The precise locations and nature of the munitions were often poorly documented.
“Beaufort’s Dyke, a deep trench which lies between Scotland and Northern Ireland, was one of the sites used extensively for sea disposal. This trench measures more than 50 km long and 3.5 km wide.
“The depth of the area and proximity to the coast made it an ideal location for a munitions dumping ground. At that time it was not an
important fishing ground.”