TERRIFIED families were forced to flee their homes following a bomb scare in Castleford.
Residents were evacuated from 19 properties in Kendal Drive and Dawtrie Close after a hand grenade was discovered by a gardener on Saturday evening.
Truck driver Nigel Griffiths was chopping down trees in his back yard on Kendal Drive when he discovered the live explosive on the edge of his neighbour’s property in Dawtrie Close, at around 6.15pm.
His partner, Cath Clay, 43, said: “The tree branches fell into the garden and as he picked them up, he found the grenade.
“He just came in and said, ‘I think there’s a hand grenade in the garden’.
“Next minute the bomb squad were out. I don’t think it’s really sunk in.
“I didn’t panic because I thought it was a dud or a toy, you don’t expect to find a hand grenade in your garden.
“Then the police said it was live – if it had gone off in the garden it would have killed someone, definitely.”
The war-time grenade was found in the garden of a bungalow which the Express understands is home to an elderly woman.
Her next-door-neighbour, Kelly Williams, 24, was one of around 30 people evacuated from her home, along with her 20-month-old daughter, Olivia.
She said: “I saw police coming into the square and they said ‘you’ve got to get out, we’ve got to evacuate you’.
“Everyone panicked. Last week my boyfriend and his friend cut the grass in the woman’s garden.
“The police said they were lucky to be alive because if they had gone over it, it probably would have gone off.”
Julie Parker, also of Dawtrie Close, said she and her husband were evacuated for three-and-a-half hours while the explosive was taken to Fryston village to be detonated.
She added: “When we got back in, I just sat there and started shaking, I was in shock.
“I thought it was nothing but it could have killed us all.
“It’s something you don’t imagine isn’t it? We thought it was a hoax.
“Never in a million years did I think it was a live one.”
West Yorkshire Police confirmed they attended the scene and evacuated properties before the grenade was removed from the garden by explosives experts.
A spokeswoman for the police said: “We were called at 6.15pm on Saturday to Dawtrie Close after a war-time grenade was found.
“Nineteen homes were evacuated as a precaution.
“The Explosives Ordnance Disposal were called, the item was removed and a controlled explosion took place.”