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Norfolk man in French car bomb terror ordeal

Sobbing dad held suspect device for four hours

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The good burghers of far-flung UK eastern county Norfolk have for years been on the receiving end of unkind jibes suggesting that they are a little challenged in the grey matter department. Sadly, one local has done little to dispel the myths that Norfolkians are thicker than a Chernobyl safety inspector's lead underpants after provoking a full-scale bomb alert.

David Page unearthed the cylindrical suspect device while digging in a workyard in Coltishall. He noticed that it had an unusual-looking button on top and - as is the local custom - immediately decided to depress it. It was only then that Page decided he might in fact be holding a piece of unexploded WWII ordnance, and that letting go of the trigger would likely be a very bad idea indeed.

Accordingly, he alerted the police who in turn called the Army's bomb disposal team. Sadly, the UXB unit could not attend the scene for four hours, during which time Page clung desperately to the unexploded cannister while his arm was buried up to the shoulder in a sand-filled drum in a rather Heath Robinson attempt to dampen any blast.

When, however, the lads in kevlar eventually showed up, they quickly declared the component of death nothing more sinister than part of a Citroen's hydraulic system. A visibly-shaken Page later appeared on the BBC's Look East news bulletin where he put a brave face on his terrifying ordeal.

That would have been and end to it had the UK's national press not pounced on the story this morning with a certain amount of relish. Page told the Daily Mail: "The woman police operator kept saying it would be OK but I kept saying to her, 'You're not the one holding the bomb'." The paper further reports that Page sobbed to the operator: "I told her to tell my parents and the children that I loved them if anything went wrong."

We at El Reg have no doubt this heartfelt plea is something the regulars in Page's local pub will want to remind him of - for about the next ten years or so. ®

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