A WILTSHIRE farmer has told how he kept an old 1950s naval shell for five years before deciding to report it to police.

Officers from Devizes called in army explosive experts on Friday after farmer James Read told them about the four-inch shell.

Mr Read, 42, of Church Farm, Stanton St Bernard, said: "It has been about a while. We found it about five years ago while we were cultivating land.

"It was left outside one of the barns on the farm and it was only when a friend in the Royal Air Force saw it and suggested it might be live that I decided to do something about it."

He called Devizes Police who arranged for the army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team to inspect the shell.

They safely detonated the shell on Friday leaving a small crater in a field.

Mr Read, whose family has farmed beef cattle and arable crops on the land for more than a 100 years, added: "It was what we thought it was, a test shell that wasn't live."

The shell is believed to have come from an old army test firing range between Stanton St Bernard and West Kennet.