A bomb disposal squad was called into action after fears an explosive device had been discovered at a Wearside house sparked a safety scare.
A fleet of police cars – including an armed response vehicle – and a team from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal, based in Catterick, raced to a property in Shakespeare Street, Houghton, after the shock find.
Officers took away a grenade from the property and carried out tests at the scene – which confirmed it was an imitation device used for training purposes.
It is understood that a woman had been clearing out the house, which belonged to her deceased father, when she found the item, as well as a quantity of ammunition.
She quickly raised the alarm with police swiftly on the scene.
A neighbour says a major police response was called to the street.
There was a lot of drama.Resident
The man, who asked not to be named, said: “We had just come back from the shops when we noticed a police van and police cars outside the house.
“The house belonged to an old man who died about a year ago.
“His daughter was in the process of clearing up the house when the grenade was found in a cupboard.
“A few more police cars turned up.
“Then a Royal Logistic Corps bomb disposal unit arrived from Catterick.
“The police were there for about two hours but the disposal unit must have only been there for about ten minutes.
“They scanned the grenade and took it away.
“They said it was an imitation training device.”
But the man says the bomb experts would have had to evacuate the street – if the pin had not still been in the grenade.
He added: “The pin was still in the imitation grenade.
“The street remained open but the bomb officers said if the pin had been out of it, they may have had to evacuate the area.
“It was a shock.
“You don’t expect to see so much police activity on a Sunday afternoon.
“There was a lot of drama.”
Northumbria Police say they were called to the street, along with a Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, yesterday afternoon.
They say the training device was taken away and safely disposed of by the bomb experts.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “At 3.10pm on Sunday, police attended an address in Shakespeare Street, Houghton-le-Spring after an old grenade was found.
“The Explosive Ordnance Disposal attended as a precaution and took the item, which is believed to be an old training device.
“They discarded of it safely.”