An unsuspecting couple out on their routine dog walk had a moment they’ll never forget when they came across a rusty hand grenade in the woods.

Mike Bentley, 61, and his wife Debbie, 62, were taking six-year-old Jake for a walk near Tunnel Wood Road, Watford, on Tuesday when all of a sudden they noticed something “unusual” on the ground.

It turned out this device was a World War Two explosive and once police cordoned off the scene, just yards from homes, specialist officers from the explosive ordnance disposal team came and took the device away to carry out a controlled explosion at nearby Orchard Park.

Watford Observer:

The device, circled, is believed to be some type of Mills war grenade.

“It was around 9:15am and we were looking for some sticks for Jake to play with”, Mr Bentley recalls.

He added: “So we were looking for these sticks and then Debbie noticed something unusual. It was partly buried in leaves but we didn’t know what it was and she gave it a kick.

“We were still unsure so I moved more closely and picked it up and I was just holding this thing in my hand. It was about the size of a baked bean tin. I began inspecting it and then I realised it could be some sort of grenade.”

Three dog walkers then came along and they advised Mr Bentley to put the device down and he did, hiding it behind a tree.

As the couple began walking back to their home in Birch Tree Close, Mr Bentley rang the police saying he had found something he thought might be “dangerous” and within minutes, officers were at his door. He took the police to where he had put the device before he left soon after for work.

When specialist officers arrived, they determined it was likely to be a World War Two device and a decision was taken to safely explode it in Orchard Park at around 12.30pm.

Watford Observer:

Houses are just a matter of yards from where the war device was found.

When Mr Bentley got home, he decided to research what he thought he’d found and although unconfirmed, he believes he came across a Mills bomb, a hand grenade, developed by designer William Mills. More than 70 million of these grenades were built between 1915 and the 1980’s.

Mr Bentley, who is a former motor mechanic added: “I never thought it was dangerous and we thought it might not be real but we realised it could be a threat which is why we called the police.

“We can’t work how it had never been spotted before. It’s right next to a path. Perhaps an animal dug it up recently, but I’m glad we found it.”

The controlled explosion was the second in a week in Watford after police were called to reports of a suspicious device found in a car in Charlock Way the previous Wednesday. Enquiries are still ongoing into the incident and police confirmed they are not linking the incidents together.