BOMB disposal experts fear there may be more Second World War explosives buried within the grounds of a primary school after making safe a crate of grenades yesterday morning.
Macmerry Primary School, near Tranent, is expected to remain closed indefinitely as an army bomb squad scours the land for lethal weaponry believed to have been stored on site when the premises were used as an RAF base.
Contractors made the startling discovery while laying foundations to a school extension on Friday, sparking an emergency evacuation.
Pupils were told to return home while some who arrived early were sheltered in the local village hall.
East Lothian Council have said the school will remain closed until further notice, and alternative accommodation for pupils will be found next week.
A controlled explosion was carried out on the phosphorus grenades – used to create smoke screens and mask troop movements during the war – by explosive experts.
Ward councillor Kenny McLeod passed the scene en route to a military parade in Haddington honouring the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
He said: “Someone on the street called out to me saying there was a bomb at the school so I stopped and checked out what was happening.
“It was a hive of activity outside the school with emergency services, rapid response vehicles and half a dozen police cars all on scene.
“My first concern was for the pupils, staff and parents. It is better that the devices were found now rather than later.
An army spokesman said: “The Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Troop based at Craigiehall have been assisting Police Scotland at the incident at Macmerry Primary School.
“The EOD Troop, by way of a controlled explosion, disposed of a quantity of Second World War phosphorus grenades.”
It is understood the explosive devices were found in playing fields within the school grounds.
A spokesman for East Lothian Council said: “Children who had already been dropped off by parents are with teachers at the village hall. The majority of children went home with their parents.
“Police and fire service, plus army bomb disposal experts were all called out as a precaution and are now investigating the best way of disposing of the equipment. The school will remain closed until further notice.”
Hadden Construction has been refurbishing the school kitchen, building a medical room and extending the entrance hall.
A police spokesman said: “Police in East Lothian are in attendance at the Macmerry Primary School after suspected Second World War artillery was unearthed during excavation work at the rear of the building.
“A cordon is in place and the emergency ordnance disposal unit are also in attendance.
“The school was evacuated as a precaution.”