German neighbourhood evacuated as collector's WWII grenades explode in summer heat

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A neighbourhood in Germany had to be evacuated after World War Two-era grenades bought by a collector at a car boot sale began exploding in the early summer heat.

Authorities were called after an explosion on Monday afternoon in the town of Hennef, east of Bonn, police said on Tuesday.

They arrived to find a garage in flames, and more explosions followed after munitions bought at a flea market ignited in the warming temperatures.

They cleared a wide area around the home, shutting a stretch of railway and highway as experts were brought in. The munitions were secured and destroyed in a controlled explosion in a field.

The 51-year-old collector who bought the firearms, and is now under investigation for weapons law violations, had been at work as the explosions began.

He is reported to live in the house with his parents, who were the first to call the emergency services. There were no injuries. 

A neighbour told the Bild newspaper: “It was banging and it didn’t stop banging.”

A police spokesman said: “At around 3.20pm several residents rang the emergency line and reported that there had been several detonations in a garage.”

Bild reported that the munitions collector regularly goes searching in the fields with a metal detector for old war weapons.

Unexploded bombs from the Second World War are often discovered in Germany.

Earlier this month, an estimated 50,000 people had to be evacuated from Hanover to allow a series of World War Two bombs to be defused.