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Families living in 11 homes along a street in Hornsey were evacuated on Saturday over fears one resident had uncovered a Second World War bomb in his back garden.

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Firefighters were called to the house in Nelson Road around 4.30pm by police who arrived at the scene after the man unearthed what he believed could be an undetonated explosive. He had been excavating his garden to begin laying a new patio.

The man and his family, along with five households on either side of their home, were quickly evacuated. But the suspected bomb was, in fact, a piece of old-fashioned laundry equipment, known as a copper.

Roy Keightley, Red Watch manager at Hornsey Fire Station, told the Journal: “The way it was sitting it suspiciously looked like an old Second World War bomb.

“I was 99 per cent sure it wasn’t a bomb but it’s better to be safe than sorry – God forbid if someone pulled it and it did go bang.”

Eight firefighters arrived at the scene in two fire engines on Saturday and alerted a police specialist unit to deal with the suspicious object, before evacuating nearby homes.

“The unit arrived within half an hour and, after examining the submerged object, quickly realised it was not a bomb.

Describing the copper, estimated to be around 2ft high and 18in wide, Mr Keightley said: “It’s like an upside down bell made out of cast-iron. Years ago, people used to boil water in it and wash clothes – long before washing machines.”

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