Bomb disposal experts were called to a Devon recycling centre to remove a rocket propelled mortar.
The Totnes Recycling Centre, owned by Devon County Council, was evacuated yesterday morning, while the police and the bomb squad dealt with the mortar which had been left in a skip.
The council said that the mortar had narrowly missed being crushed by a JCB. It is not known whether it had already been deactivated or could explode but was removed in a bomb-proof container for investigation.
The council’s cabinet member responsible for recycling centres, Roger Croad, said: “We like to think that we can recycle most things to avoid them going into landfill, but rocket propelled mortars are definitely not on our list of recyclables.
“Seriously though, it’s rather irresponsible to leave ammunition or explosives at your local recycling centre, and possibly endangering staff and the public.
“Explosives and items like this require specialist disposal, and we ask anyone with such items to contact the Police or the Coastguard for further advice.”
The council warned centre users to ensure items disposed of were appropriate.
The recycling centre is now open as normal.