Revealed: London's unexploded bomb hotspots

Oliver Gill
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Bomb Squad
Not all experts advise defusing unexploded bombs with a pick-axe (Source: Getty)

A suspected unexploded second world war bomb found in the River Thames caused mayhem in parts of London yesterday as authorities shut off Waterloo and Westminster bridges for several hours.

The riverfront was closed until the early hours of this morning, while the bomb itself was dragged to shore near the Victoria Embankment.

Finding and locating unexploded bombs is serious business and quite an industry. One of the country's leading experts in such a practice is Zetica.

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Where were they dropped?

"We have eight staff working full-time on this," Zetica's managing director, Mike Sainsbury, told City A.M..

The Oxfordshire-based company has conducted over 1,000 studies in the last year, 650 of which were "significant ", consisting of a deep dive into historical records, overlaying maps and old photographs to corroborate locations.

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Watch out Lewisham

Whereas the armed forces used to take control of unexploded bombs – as was the case yesterday – in the main, private companies such as Zetica conduct the work; from identifying bombs right through to ensuring safe disposal.

Sainsbury said his firm has significant demand from major infrastructure projects such as HS2.

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Lethal Lambeth

With a plethora of high-rise buildings springing up all over London, many might be surprised to hear there is no specific legislation mandating building firms to check for unexploded devices before putting spades into the ground.

"Insurers tend to drive the process," said Sainsbury. Many construction firms have it written into their insurance contracts that they must get sign-off there are no unexploded bombs on the site.

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South west safer

North haven

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