Boat Races go ahead after WW2 bomb find

The 163rd University Boat Race will go ahead after a World War Two shell was removed from the River Thames.

The Met Police confirmed the submerged item was assessed and removed by specialist officers earlier on Sunday.

It was found on the northern shore near Putney Bridge, west London, on Saturday. Experts had to wait for the tide to recede to examine the item.

Crowds of up to 300,000 people are expected to line the banks of the river for the men’s and women’s races.

Metropolitan Police Ch Insp Tracy Stephenson said: “I’m very happy to update that the ordnance has now been safely removed and the race will be going ahead as planned.

“We have been working very closely with the organisers of the boat race to plan this event which is eagerly awaited by spectators and supporters alike.”

The BBC understands the shell was found by a passing sailor and was located on the Chelsea bank of the river on the north side of Putney Bridge.

The races start on the other side of Putney Bridge, with the women’s race at 16:35 BST and the men’s race at 17:35 BST.

In an earlier statement the Met said: “Police were called by a member of the public at approximately 13:50 BST on Saturday… reporting what they thought to be World War Two ordnance on the Chelsea shoreline by Putney Bridge.”

Michelle Dite, race director of the Boat Race said: “We are very happy to update that the ordnance has now been safely removed and The Cancer Research UK Boat Races will be going ahead as planned. Thank you to the Metropolitan Police for their support.

“We look forward to some great racing and an enjoyable afternoon for spectators and supporters alike.”

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