A SUSPECTED mortar shell discovered by workers developing a park and ride site in York turned out to be an ornamental device designed to look like a bomb.

Workmen building the new Park&Ride site at Askham Bar dug up the device shortly before 4pm, but it was later identified as being ornamental. 

Army bomb disposal experts identified it as a fake shortly after arriving at the site, but not before the building site, York College and the Tesco superstore at Askham Bar had been evacuated.

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Thousands of motorists faced disruption as Tadcaster Road was closed and buses diverted.

It turned out the device was an ornament made of wood and lead, with a brass tip, designed to look like a mortar bomb.

One site workman, who would not be named, said at least 20 workers had been evacuated from the site following the discovery.

The item was picked up by an excavator, carried across the site in a truck then dumped with other materials, at which point it was spotted and the alarm raised.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "North Yorkshire Police were called at around 3.55pm after reports that workmen on the new Park and Ride site at Askham Bar had found what is believed to be an old world war mortar shell."