A field telescope used during the Second World War has been rescued from the rubbish skips and donated to a children's centre in Bushey.

The German range finder, possibly used to target allied tanks during the war and allowed soldiers to measure shooting distance on the battlefield was found in Bledlow, High Wycombe.

It was brought in to the Household Waste Recycling Centre, which is managed by the environment waste management company, on behalf of Buckinghamshire County Council.

Staff at the centre spotted the rare item and handed it to the South Bucks Hospice who then donated it to the Lincolnsfields Children's Centre in Bushey, which hosts a large collection of World War II memorabilia.

They also donated a tripod, believed to have been from the same person, as well as a large British radio transmitter.

Phil Knight, a trustee of the Lincolnsfield Centre, said: "It was brilliant. We do receive quite a few donations, but to get something like this was very good. It is something unusual for children to see and to be able to hold when they visit our site. In a lot of museums, everything is behind glass, but here, you can pick things up."

Mr Knight was unable to estimate the value of the items, but said a lot of memorabilia ended up in army and navy shops after the war, and that the range finders were essential instruments used on the battlefield.

"If you are going to fire at a tank, you need to know the distance," he said.

Sue Rance, manager of the South Bucks Hospice, said: "The field telescope came in to the household waste recycling centre at Bledlow at the end of last year. Staff at the site saw a person getting out of a car with it and brought it to us.

"I had never seen one before. It was in a case and in such good condition that we decided to donate it to a museum."

The Lincolnsfield Centre in Bushey is open to the public on the last Sunday of every month, apart from December: http://www.lincolnsfields.co.uk/.