A FISHERMAN sparked a bomb scare after pulling a Second World War device from a river in Southampton.

Police officers and a bomb disposal squad rushed to Riverside Park in Bitterne Park just after 1pm yesterday after reports of what appeared to be a grenade being found in the River Itchen.

Warren Dickens, 32, who sells ice creams at the park, said it was about 1pm when a fisherman who had been magnet fishing in the river asked him if he could use his phone to call the police as he had found a grenade in the water.

Mr Dickens added: “He didn’t let anyone get close to it. The police arrived and the bomb squad arrived.

“All the area between the carpark and the skate park was cordoned off. People were told to stay 100 metres away from the river.”

He said about 15 police officers were sent to the scene.

Woodmill Lane was closed between its junction with Wessex Lane and Manor Farm Road.

Emma Cowan, 43, a teacher who lives nearby, was at Riverside Park when the police arrived.

She said residents at the park were told to stay away from the cordon.

She added: “We had gone to the park to have a little play and they put a cordon up. The navy came and they had a bomb disposal squad and picked something up from the water.”

She said officers told her it was ordnance.

“They had a big steel box and they put whatever it was in there and went in the back of their special vehicle and as soon as they disappeared they took the cordon down,”she added.

Residents said they felt the situation was under control and many of them continued to enjoy the sunshine while the device was being removed.

A spokesman for Hampshire police said officers were sent to the scene shortly before 1pm.

He added: “We were called at 12.57pm by a member of the public who found historic ordnance in the river by Woodmill Lane, Southampton.

“A cordon was set up and a Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team attended.

“They removed the item, thought to be a World War Two mortar, and the cordon was lifted at around 3.30pm.”

Traffic was diverted throughout the afternoon before the road re-opened.