Brimstone is coming to the end of a lengthy project in Burntwood, Staffordshire. Our EOD engineers have been carrying out one or two controlled explosions every week.

Work on a housing estate was halted in March 2016 after two unexploded rifle grenades were discovered.

As a result, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Homes appointed Brimstone to be the Principal Contractor and manage the UXO risk process, from assessment and ground remediation through to disposal.

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A Stage 2 Detailed UXO Risk Assessment was carried out at the request of the Health & Safety Executive. This identified the presence of a military scrap yard on site during and after WWII. The yard was mostly engaged in breaking up surplus RAF aircraft. However, when the Home Guard disbanded in 1944, it appears that unauthorised disposal of surplus ammunition occurred at the site.

Rifle grenades
Army bomb disposal experts at the site prior to brimstone clearing the site of uxo.

Brimstone has been working closely with the Health and Safety Executive and the local firearms division of Staffordshire Police, to make sure that the controlled explosions are carried out following all safety guidelines. Once the final controlled detonation is complete, Brimstone will have been working on site for almost a year, to the day.

Rifle grenades
Stored rifle grenades ready for disposal.

In this time >2,500 rifle grenades of WWII vintage have been recovered and destroyed. A variety of different UXO types have been found, including some rarer items e.g 3 inch ZAA rockets. In addition, some less hazardous items such as small arms ammunition and fuses have been removed.

No.68 Rifle Grenades

The most numerous find by far has been the No.68 anti-tank grenade. This device was an early type of shaped-charge weapon for use against tanks with armour up to two inches thick. Although relatively small, the 156 gram high explosive charge is a significant hazard with the potential to kill.

They were used by both the regular army and then the Home Guard. Between 1941 and 1942 nearly 8 million units were manufactured in Britain.

Rifle grenades
A member of the home guard prepares to fire a no. 68 rifle grenade.