December 5, 2008

Office paperweight a historic explosive

An office worker in Worcester, England, kept a World War I shell as a paperweight for years without knowing it was still live, a friend says.

Jon Williamson said his friend, Jeff Heyes, had unknowingly put his own life in danger by keeping the live shell on his desk, using the potentially deadly item as a simple paperweight, the Daily Mail said Friday.

Williamson said it was not until he saw the shell that its potential danger became apparent to Heyes, who had the item removed by area soldiers.

I saw it on the desk and thought 'that looks dangerous,' he told the Mail.

I shoot so I know about firearms, it still had a live detonator and the explosive TNT was exposed.

A Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said Heyes was incredibly lucky that the foot-long shell never detonated.

If the managing director had put his feet on the desk after a hard day and accidentally knocked the shell on to the floor with a big thud -- who knows? It may well have gone off, the unidentified official said.