WW2 bomb found: Kingston residents 'to be allowed back into their homes this afternoon at the earliest,' say police

Katy Clifton
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Thousands of residents evacuated after an unexploded WW2 bomb was discovered in south-west London will be able to return home Friday afternoon at the earliest, police have said.

Residents of 1,500 homes in Kingston were evacuated after the bomb was found in Fassett Road on Thursday at around 9am.

Kingston University and local schools were also evacuated while Scotland Yard called in experts from the Ministry of Defence.

Police have said the cordons and road closures are expected to remain in place until Friday afternoon at the earliest.

(Chris Reynolds/@historyreynolds)

Commander Mark McEwan said on Thursday night: "Rest centres and assistance are being provided by our partners. Police patrols will continue in order to ensure the area's safety."

The bomb is said to have been found at a building works on the site of the old Hotel Antoinette.

University students were unable to access their halls overnight, with students and staff told to leave the Penrhyn Road and Knights Park campuses “as a precaution”.

Students outside Kingston university after it was evacuated (@union_kingston)

The student union said the “cordon will remain in place on Friday, with no access to anything within including halls, Penrhyn Road and Knights Park.”

Kingston Council set up a rest centre at The Richard Mayo Centre on Eden Street for affected residents who were unable to return home.

St John's Church of England Primary School and Bedelsford School will not be opening on Friday, the council announced.

A spokesman said: "There is a cordon in place around Penrhyn Road, Beaufort Road, Beaufort Place, Fassett Road, Grove Lane, Grove Crescent, Bloomfield Road and Linkford Avenue.

"The cordon will continue to be in place until at least the afternoon of Friday 24 May.

(@claire_notclare)

"Staywell are offering breakfast and refreshments from 7am on Friday 24 May at the Bradbury Centre, Grange Road.

"People who have pets at home or medication they need can report to the police liaison point in the car park at County Hall, Penrhyn Road and they will be escorted into the cordoned area."

Aisha Hussain, 25, who lives in Linkford Avenue inside the cordoned zone said she was allowed to go home and pick up her cat.

"If you down into the area barred off it is eerily quiet. But outside it is chaos," she said.

"People are now being allowed back into their own home, and have been told they can stay there but police are not recommending it."

A police cordon in Kingston (@kingstonskyline)

In a statement, Commander McEwan said: "Police are on the scene.

“We are working alongside military specialists, other emergency services and our partners including the London Borough of Kingston. We are working to resolve the situation."

Two polling stations were closed after the discovery at around 9am, St John the Evangelist church in Grove Lane and St Raphael's Catholic church in Portsmouth Road.

People taking part in the European elections were instead directed to other sites to cast their vote.