A back garden makeover blew up into a bomb squad drama when workmen unearthed three unexploded wartime missiles on Monday.
The crew from Boss Landscapes dug up the rusted metal cylinders from underneath the lawn of a house in Bushmead Avenue,Bedford.
“They didn’t really know what they were so they passed them round a bit then chucked them in the skip,” said the Biggleswade company owner Nigel Wheatley.
But one worker, John Gunnell, thought the objects might be of historic interest so he popped two of them in his boot to show friends and family.
It was only when he called into his local social club for a pint on the way home that the drama exploded.
The landlady of Wing Sports And Social Club said: “He mentioned these things that he’d dug up and took us out to his car to see them. Some of the older members recognised them instantly and realised they could be highly dangerous.
“The club was packed that night. We had an indoor bowls game and two darts matches so there was about 100 people. It was a bit scary.”
Police and the bomb squad were called to the social club and also to Bushmead Avenue after learning the third bomb was still nestling in the skip.
Nigel said: “It was chaos. They emptied the skip and searched all over the garden in case there were more of the things buried there.
“At one stage they wanted to evacuate the street for 200 metres around the scene in case there was an explosion.”
Eventually bomb experts decided the devices were missile heads that, although they contained explosives, were too old and damaged to be of danger.
Officers remained at the scene on Tuesday, preventing Nigel’s crew from going back to work on the garden.
“I lost a day’s money but it’s worth it to know the street was safe!” he said.
Meanwhile John Gunnell is said to be red-faced about his decision to take home the missiles.
Nigel said: “It was a bit silly of him . His ‘punishment’ will be refilling the entire skip after the bomb squad officers emptied it all out!”
It is not known whether the missiles had landed in Bushmead Avenue during the war and been buried there ever since, or whether they had been hidden there later.
The current owners knew nothing about them.