BOMB disposal experts have cleared 1,000 unexploded items from a stretch of coastline.

Experts from 29 (Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search) Group, of 35 Engineer Regiment, have been clearing a 600-acre area of Cowden Sands, off the East Yorkshire coast, which was used by the RAF and US Air Force as a practice bombing range until 1998.

The range targets were situated at the top of a cliff above Mappleton Beach, which is situated on the UK's fastest eroding coastline. This rapid erosion has led to significant amounts of ordnance being exposed on the beach itself.

Troop Commander, Second Lieutenant Sam Turner, said: “Ministry of Defence explosive ordnance clearance teams have attended the beach on numerous occasions to make the beach safe for the public, but recent erosion has revealed a significant pocket of buried unexploded ordnance which has fallen onto the beach and now needs to be removed.

“The safety of the public is always our first priority. Warning signs have been put up and red flags are visible. The public are reminded to adhere to the warning signs and not to pick up or remove any objects.”

The removal work began on July 13 and the team has made approximately 1,000 items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) safe, with the majority having to be destroyed in controlled explosions.

Any items deemed free from explosives were removed from the beach and transferred through the logistic chain to be repurposed. The majority of UXO had been practice bombs, aircraft projectiles and land service ammunition, such as the historic two-inch mortar, also known as two-inch howitzer.

2Lt Turner added: “The weather determines how much work the team has, because things can change overnight as to what new items are unearthed. At one point, we thought we had completed the task, but then 170 items appeared overnight with the next tide.”

Teams will complete their task on August 12, with a long-term plan to deal with unexploded ordnance on the beach now being developed.

It is against the law to pick up military materials from the Mappleton/Cowden beach under the Royal Air Force Cowden Byelaws 1977. If you see a UXO or anyone near one, please phone the police.