Hand grenade found among donations to Oxfam store

The ordnance sat in the shop in Otley for three days before being discovered because of coronavirus quarantine measures

The cordoned-off store (Photograph: Tom Pettinger)
The cordoned-off store (Photograph: Tom Pettinger)

An Oxfam shop in West Yorkshire was forced to call the bomb disposal unit out last week after finding a hand grenade in a bag of donations. 

The charity has confirmed reports that the World War One explosive device was given to the shop in Otley near Leeds last week. It was discovered three days after it was handed in because of Covid-19 quarantine restrictions on donated goods.

Charity shop staff contacted the police and the bomb disposal unit closed off the road and evacuated nearby shops before taking the grenade away. 

A spokesman for the charity said it was unclear whether the grenade was live and still potentially explosive, whether it had been defused or was merely a replica. 

But, he told Third Sector: “It certainly did look very real.”

The local newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus, reported that police believed it to have been a “harmless battlefield souvenir”. 

It is not the first time such ammunition has been donated to a charity shop. 

In 2017, a grenade was donated to a shop run by the deaf-blind charity Sense in south east London, which also led to the premises being evacuated and the emergency services being called.

Many charity shops have been inundated with donations after people took the opportunity to clear out their homes during lockdown, with the Charity Retail Association warning that shops faced the “double whammy” of a “deluge” of donations and reduced workforce as they began to reopen. 

St Barnabas Hospice, which operates 26 shops in Lincolnshire, ran a drive-through donation service during lockdown, but was forced to stop taking items after it received more than 50 tonnes of stock in a month. 


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