A DOG walker has described the heart-stopping moment she picked up a hand grenade on the beach thinking it was a stone.

Clair Watson was throwing pebbles for her dog Bonnie at a Dovercourt beach yesterday when she found the Second World War explosive.

She called over to another walker and he phoned his son, who is an army explosives expert. He set up a cordon when he arrived – averting a potentially deadly game of fetch – and called the bomb disposal team based at Colchester Garrison.

Mrs Watson, 41, from Clacton, said: “I was going to throw it for the dog.

“It wasn’t until I picked it up that I thought it was a weird-looking stone.

“It didn’t look like a hand grenade at all at first, but then I looked it.

“I said to my husband: ‘What the hell is that?’. He said it looked like a hand grenade.”

The bomb disposal team, coastguard and police quickly arrived at the beach and removed the grenade.

Police issued a statement saying a dog walker had thrown the grenade for their dog.

But Mrs Watson said: “I joked to the policeman I had been about to throw it for the dog, but I would never have thrown it.”

For the full story, see Monday's Gazette