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Afghanistan bomb experts should clear beach mines
A smaller-scale sweep for ordnance on Southend seafront is being considered as a way of making the beaches safer and saving money on call-outs when individual unexploded mines and shells are found.
The Ministry of Defence owns the section of Shoebury coastline from the slipway to Barge Pier, and this stretch is closed to the public because of unexploded ordnance.
Peter Grubb, who runs the Uncle Tom’s Cabin cafe on Shoebury seafront, says bomb squads returning from Afghanistan could be asked to sweep the MoD’s beaches for mines, and then carry on along the shoreline.
He explained: “The Government has said the troops are returning in January, and many will be made redundant. There is a one-time opportunity to mobilise them to do a sweep from Shoebury to Leigh, to make all our beaches safer.”
Shoebury Independent councillor, Mike Assenheim, agrees, but also wants better signs at Shoebury, warning of the dangers of the MoD beach.
He said: “The sands are moving.
because of beach erosion, and it is moving ordnance down to Leigh.
“I suggest the Navy should sweep from the headland in Shoebury through to the beach in Leigh.
“There’s ordnance there from the First and Second World Wars and one of these days, there’s going to be an accident.
“People climb over the seawall and walk around the fence to get on to the MoD beach, even though there are warning signs on the fence.
“It’s only going to take one accident, then people will ask why nothing was done before.”
A Navy spokesman said it was in the early stages of assessing whether a wide-ranging clearance operation would be cost and timeeffective, but it was too soon to say if it would go ahead.
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