AN unexploded World War One shell left a Sutton Benger couple in shock and disbelief after they found the 101-year-old explosive lying in their garden.

Michelle Newman and her husband, Charles, were forced to call the bomb squad after discovering the shell which dates back to 1916.

“I think I was just in shock and disbelief, I didn’t think it would be a bomb,” said Mrs Newman, who has lived on High Street for five years, along with her husband and four and one-year-old children.

“It wasn’t buried, we had a whole row of conifers and it was behind there.

“I was raking some leaves and it was basically just laid under some soil and leaves.

“Next door got an outhouse and when the ground was dug it was brought back up, or that’s one theory.

“I honestly just assumed it was a piece of old car and whoever lived her previously collected car parts, but it did look like an odd piece of a car.

“I mentioned it to my husband that I’d found this object and he came out, had a look, and said ‘I think that’s a bomb’.”

After wiping the base of the shell which read ALCO – standing for the American Locomotive Company – and CF - for cordite charge full – police officers visited the house before the bomb squad were called on April 13.

A safe and controlled detonation took place on the shell which is believed to have been an Ordnance Quick Firing 13-Pounder, standard ammunition for artillery guns in World War One.

“It was full they said and it was loaded with cordite so it could have potentially gone off,” added Mrs Newman.

“It was from 1916 though so it had been sat there for 101 years so we would have been pretty unlucky if it had gone off.

“Apparently it’s quite common in Wiltshire to find unexploded shells.

“Definitely when we moved into the house we didn’t expect to find this, but maybe if other people are planning on digging in their gardens be a bit careful.

“It’s a nice piece of history to the house.”