Staff in one Cardiff office are set to enjoy a long bank holiday weekend – after an unexploded World War II shell was found in their car park.
A builder found the shell, which later turned out to be a dummy, while re-layng the car park at Companies House off Whitchurch Road this morning.
The building is next door to Maindy Barracks, which opened in 1871 and housed US troops in both world wars.
Staff were evacuated from the building and sent home as a “precautionary measure” at 9.10am, with a spokesman for Companies House saying they are now not due back until after the August bank holiday.
But by 11.30am a bomb disposal team from Hereford had arrived and taken the artillery shell away.
One eyewitness said: “The bomb disposal guy just had his normal army uniform on, so right from the start they seemed confident it was harmless.
“He just walked over, picked it up in one hand and then put it in the back of the van.
“The workmen are all back at work now but the staff were told to go home at 9.10am, so it’s a nice bank holiday weekend for them.”
One staff member, who called WalesOnline from home but asked not to be named, said the workman who found the dummy shell had served in the army.
She said: “The person who found it used to serve in Afghanistan so he recognised it as a bomb.
“They’ve evacuated the whole building while they wait for the bomb disposal team from Hereford to arrive and we’ve all been told to go home.
“We’ve been told not to return by any means whatsoever.”
She added: “The last time we were all sent home was for an anthrax scare in 2005.
“It’s quite nice for a bank holiday weekend.”
A spokesman for Companies House confirmed the evacuation and said a historical “ordnance” had been discovered in the building’s back car park, which is in the process of being re-laid.
He said: “Following work to the car park a suspected ordnance has been discovered and as a precautionary measure, Companies House building at Crown Way, Cardiff, will be closing today and staff advised to return home.
“The building will reopen following the August Bank Holiday.
“All our other offices and online services remain unaffected and customers should continue to use these as normal.”
The spokesman later added: “Our staff won’t be recalled as many of them travel from Valleys areas and this would be logistically impractical at this stage in the day.
“That said, Companies House provide a substantial digital service to customers and these remain unaffected and fully operational.”
A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: “At 8.38am police received information that workers digging at Companies House, Crown Way, Cardiff, had found what they believed to be a live shell.
“The bomb disposal team were called to dispose of the item.”