The crater left after a controlled explosion of a shell on the moorland in a previous operation. Photo: Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team

The crater left after a controlled explosion of a shell on the moorland in a previous operation. Photo: Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team

Mountain rescuers warned walkers and runners after dangerous unexploded shells were found on moorland.

The discovery on Monday followed a tip-off by a fellrunner who noticed the piece of ordnance while running above Langsett in the North-East of the Peak District.

The area was formerly used as a military firing range and has been the scene of various discoveries of unexploded shells in the past.

Scott Roberts of Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team said members were sent up on to the moor by police to investigate.

Mr Roberts said: “Thankfully, the fellrunner had provided an excellent description of the location and team members found the item immediately.

“However, they didn’t just find one shell they found three. Experts described the shells as 75mm armour-piercing shells dating back to pre-World War Two. The shells were removed to safety by bomb disposal experts.”

Team member Duncan Scissons added: “We were fortunate that the runner provided an excellent description of where the shell was and we found it right away.

“However, experience tells us these things never pop up alone and we took the decision to scan the immediate vicinity for further devices.

“It turns out that this was the right thing to do as we found another two shells. The shells were exceptionally volatile and, had someone picked them up they could have exploded at any time.

“Given the size of the shells they could have caused serious injury not only to the person who picked them up but to anyone close by.”

The moors above Langsett, crossed by the Cut Gate path, were used as firing range between both world wars and unexploded ordnance is often found at the end of winter as the shells are forced to the surface from the movement of the peat bogs.

Woodhead team leader Keith Wakeley said: “Anyone who finds a suspicious object in the Peak District should contact police immediately, advising them of what they believe they have found and where they have found it.

“Under no circumstances should anyone go near it or touch it as the devices are known to be volatile and could cause serious injury.”

Monday’s callout capped a busy five days for the team, which also helped provide safety cover for the Ten Tors challenge event run by the Army on Dartmoor over the weekend.

Mr Roberts said: “Woodhead members were kept on their toes throughout the event assisting Dartmoor Rescue Group rescue in excess of 14 teenagers from the notoriously inclement Dartmoor weather.

“The rescues included locating lost teams and taking them to a place of safety. Two competitors were treated for mild hypothermia while another was treated for a leg injury.”

From their Princetown base, Woodhead team members were called out six times over the 34-hour period.

Mr Roberts added: “The weather made things really tough for the competitors. There was horizontal rain which impacted the river levels and visibility was very poor because of fog, not the weather you normally expect for May.

“However, it was fantastic to see so many young people really taking on a massive challenge like this and most of them really enjoying it.

“The callouts we had to deal with were normal run-of-the-mill things but given the age groups we were dealing with it really was important we got to them as quickly as possible.”

The previous Thursday the team was called to help ambulance staff who were helping a man injured while fishing in the River Don in Hillsborough, Sheffield.

Mr Wakeley said: “It’s not often that we are called out into the centre of Sheffield, however, given the location of the casualty it would have been impossible for the ambulance crew to get the man to the ambulance.

“He was right next to the river and the path was very narrow. Within 30 minutes of getting the call from the ambulance service we had over 20 team members on scene to help get the man to safety.”

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