IT WAS like the perfect opportunity to do a few odd jobs around the house.

Like thousands of other couples affected by the lockdown, Charlie Bubear and his wife Alice decided to tackle some of the chores that most people love to put off.

But their decision led to the discovery of a live grenade which had lain undiscovered for more than 100 years.

Mrs Bubear was working on an old garage at their home on the edge of Beaulieu when she found a small metal object wedged in the roof about six inches above the guttering.

Daily Echo:

Her husband emailed a photograph of the device to a relative who is serving in the army and quickly confirmed it was a grenade.

Police alerted a Royal Navy bomb disposal team in Portsmouth, who arrived within 40 minutes and took the grenade to nearby Lepe Beach.

Minutes later it was destroyed in a controlled explosion which could be heard for miles around.

In the 1940s Beaulieu was used as a "finishing school" by the Special Operations Executive, which recruited agents to work behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Europe.

But the device found by the Bubear family turned out to be a German grenade from the First World War.

One of the property's previous owners is known to have served in the conflict and, like many others, may have brought back a souvenir.

Daily Echo:

Watched by the couple's three children - Ned, eight, Jake, 11, and Ollie, 12, Mrs Bubear had been removing leaves from the garage's guttering for only a couple of minutes when she made the shocking discovery.

After gingerly placing the object on a fence post, the family hastily retreated to a safe distance.

Mr Bubear, a director of Savills estate agents, said: "We've lived in the house for eight years and in that time I've cleaned out the guttering hundreds of times without ever seeing the grenade.

"It's bizarre to think it's sitting been there for all those years. If it hadn't been for coronavirus and the lockdown we might never have found it.

"It was pretty corroded and I'm sure it was fairly safe, but we were pretty stunned when we realised what it was

"The police were great at resolving the situation so that no harm came about, but it does make you think about what you might find when giving your home a good spring clean.”