Torpedo Found In Channel

9 February 2011, 14:33 | Updated: 18 February 2011, 16:56

A 20ft torpedo has been discovered floating five miles off Beachy Head, near a busy cross-Channel shipping lane.

Fisherman Peter Storey was on board his vessel, the Royal Sovereign, when he spotted the Mark 9 torpedo near Eastbourne.

Officials at Dover Coastguard were alerted amid concerns about its position just a few miles from the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry route.

Realising it was a potential explosive which posed a hazard to navigation, Mr Storey took pictures of the torpedo on his mobile phone.

The images were then sent to the Coastguard and passed to the Royal Navy's bomb disposal team based at Portsmouth, Hampshire.

It emerged that the device's explosive charge had corroded off, rendering it safe.

Mr Storey placed the torpedo under tow and brought it closer to shore before anchoring his boat around half a mile off Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne.

Bomb disposal experts arrived to confirm it posed no risk and it was later brought in by them to the harbour.

Eastbourne RNLI coxswain Mark Sawyer said it was confirmed as a British Mk 9 device which had a stamp stating it was last checked and tested in 1955.

Mr Sawyer said: ``The bomb disposal team believe it was some sort of training torpedo. The people at Sovereign Harbour were quite keen to stress that it was safe when it was brought in.''