DRIVERS were warned to avoid the city centre over a bomb alert in Winchester, which caused disruption all afternoon.

Bomb disposal experts were on the scene, in Water Lane, Winchester, after the ordinance was discovered at around 1.30pm.

Officers had closed off Water Lane, Blue Ball Hill and Wales Street as a result.

The cordon was then further down Water Lane, with homes being evacuated as a precaution.

Closures were also put in place on the B3330 City Road, B3330 Eastgate Street (at King Alfred statue) and Easton Lane (at Winnall Manor Rd).

UPDATE: Due to the ongoing incident in the Durngate area of the City then the advice is to avoid the centre of Winchester until further notice.

— Winchester CC (@WinchesterCity) June 8, 2018

The incident was cleared at around 8.15pm.

The unexploded ordinance was found in the River Itchen, which runs alongside Water Lane.

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Mike Hamilton, a proof reader from Chandler's Ford who found the explosive, said: "I was combing the river bed when I found something that looked like an oversized bottle about two feet long. I gave it a kick, and then I saw the crimping on it and realised it was a world war one shell.

"We then ran and called the police."

"There's not usually much in this stretch of river. We weren't expecting it at all," he added.

Reporting by Michael Seymour and Gareth Newnham.