Experts have confirmed what was feared to be a wartime bomb on a building site in Peacehaven was not a bomb at all.
At around 8.30am this morning, explosive ordnance disposal experts confirmed the ‘bomb’ was in fact a disused fuel tank.
Superintendent Jane Derrick, from Sussex Police, said: “In such situations safety is always paramount.
“Unfortunately no one was able to determine what we were dealing with until bomb disposal experts worked through the night to confirm there was no danger.”
“I’m sure everyone is relieved the incident has been safely resolved.
“I’d like to thank everyone affected for their patience and understanding.”
Sussex Police sat the A259 South Coast Road has been re-opened and local diversions removed.
A 200-metre exclusion zone, which saw some 55 people having to spend the night at local reception centres, has been lifted. Displaced residents are now returning home.
The Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs primary schools, and Peacehaven Community College, closed as a precaution, will remain shut for the rest of the day, according to police.
A 200-metre safety zone was set up around the suspected bomb in an attempt to minimise any danger.
This meant many people having to leave their homes for temporary accommodation being provided by local authorities at centres elsewhere in the town.
It also brought about major traffic disruption, with the A259 South Coast Road - running close to where the device was unearthed on Wednesday afternoon (September 6) - being closed between Roderick Avenue in the East and Malines Avenue in the West.
Also shut were Phyllis Avenue, Hoddern Avenue, Rowe Avenue, Sutton Avenue, Cavell Avenue and Roderick Avenue to its junctioin with Arundel Road.
Chief Superintendent Nick May, of Sussex Police, said: “We recognise it has meant considerable upset for residents - including children and senior citizens – who have had to abandon their homes at short notice, and for motorists faced with delays and diversions to their journeys. We are grateful for people’s patience and understanding in exceedingly trying circumstances, and thank them for their forbearance.
“Our primary concern throughout has had to be their safety and well-being.”