A German sea mine dating from World War Two has been detonated close to Bognor Regis.

The device, which was about 6ft long and weighed 1,000kg, was washed up on the Sussex coast on Saturday.

Discovered below the high water mark off Elmer beach near Bognor, the ordnance was towed out to sea by Royal Navy experts before being detonated early on Sunday evening.

Ships and aircraft were warned to avoid the area as authorities prepared the mine.

Although no homes – some of which were just 500m (1,640ft) away from the bomb – were evacuated, residents nearby were advised to leave their windows open and the beach was completely cordoned off.

The mine sent a huge plume of water into the air as it was detonated.

Bomb disposal units prepared to detonate the device. Pic: Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Southern Diving Unit 2.
The device is prepared. Pic: Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Southern Diving Unit 2

Detective Superintendent Jason Taylor, of Sussex police, said: “This was a carefully planned operation.

“We thank the local residents who have been involved for their co-operation and their patience.”

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The air-dropped mine was found by member of the public Paul Austin, who told the BBC that what he discovered was “quite clearly a weapon”.

“I said ‘let’s throw stones at it’ as a joke’,” he said. “But then I thought, actually, that’s a torpedo or a bomb.”