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Army team prepare to blow up Second World War bomb

Second World War bomb that was discovered by construction staff near Aston, Birmingham, which has been identified as a German shell weighing up to 500lbs (227kg)
Second World War bomb that was discovered by construction staff near Aston, Birmingham, which has been identified as a German shell weighing up to 500lbs (227kg)

Bomb disposal experts are preparing to carry out a controlled explosion on a Second World War bomb discovered on Monday morning.

The bomb was discovered by construction staff near Aston, Birmingham, on Monday morning and has been identified as a German shell weighing up to 500lb (227kg).

The M6 between junctions 4 and 7 will be temporarily closed as Army disposal experts work to defuse the unexploded device, West Midlands Police said.

The force added it was hopeful the motorway would reopen within 90 minutes.

Police closed the A38 Aston Expressway, and homes and businesses within a 500-metre cordon were also evacuated, after the alarm was raised at 9.45am on Monday.

Dozens of people spent the night in a rest centre as hundreds of nearby homes were evacuated.

The Red Cross said around 80 people were cared for overnight by volunteers.

The A38 is expected to be closed for most of Tuesday, with 250 tonnes of sand brought in as part of the "major, delicate" operation.

Birmingham Police Commander Chris Johnson said: "An initial assessment from Army bomb disposal suggests this is a large explosive device − that's why an extensive cordon has been put in place for public safety.

"We don't take decisions like this lightly but public safety has to be our number one priority.

"Hundreds of homes have been evacuated and we are working with our partners to provide emergency accommodation.

"There have been some difficulties in accessing the device given the terrain and its position within a construction site − but all agencies involved are working as quickly as possible to bring the situation to a safe conclusion with brave military staff risking their safety to ensure that of the public."