AN ELDERLY couple took a hand grenade to Washington Police Station – causing nearby offices to be evacuated.
Part of The Galleries was cordoned off along with the car park and a piece of road outside the adjacent police station after the pair arrived with the bomb at 10.50am today.
Officers were forced to call in army bomb disposal experts, who took the grenade from the couple’s car and carried out a controlled explosion on nearby Northumbria Playing Fields at 1.50pm.
The Echo understands that the car was then returned to the couple, who are said to be too ‘embarrassed’ to talk about the incident.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “At 10.51am an elderly couple attended Washington Police Station to hand in a number of items to police.
“One of those was believed to be an old hand grenade, recovered from an address.
“It was in the boot of the couple’s car parked outside the police station.
“Officers inspected the item and an area of carpark outside Washington Police Station and a small section of road was cordoned off.
“The EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) attended and took the grenade away and carried out a controlled explosion. All cordons have been lifted.”
David McNee, centre manager of The Galleries, said: “We can confirm that offices close to Washington police station were evacuated for a short time this morning. The shopping centre remained trading as normal.
“The police station and surrounding area were quickly declared safe, with customers and occupiers back into the affected buildings shortly afterwards. The safety of the public is our first priority. We thank the public, and specifically the small group of people evacuated, for their patience.”