A WOMAN has told her husband to stick to buying her flowers after his last present caused a street and school to be evacuated.

Lisa Scott was amazed to find her neighbourhood at the centre of a bomb scare on Friday morning after a window cleaner called police.

Her husband, Jonathan, had found a spent First World War shell the night before on a nearby fell and, knowing it to be safe, brought it to his home in Leekworth Gardens, Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham, and put it on his garden bench.

A window cleaner saw the 10in shell and, fearing it to be dangerous, called police, who cordoned off the street for an hour while bomb disposal experts from Catterick, North Yorkshire, investigated.

All 130 pupils at neighbouring Middleton-in-Teesdale Primary School, including the Scotts’ two oldest children – Cameron, nine, and Eve, eight – had to be moved to a safe distance, all on teacher Tessa Fenoughty’s first day as acting headteacher.

Mrs Scott had taken her daughter, Amelia, five, to the doctors, and said she was stunned when she returned home to find her street cordoned off and a bomb disposal team in her garden.

She said: “I was gobsmacked when someone told me what was going on. I thought they were joking.”

She said the fell between Weardale and Teesdale is littered with old artillery shells after training exercises were carried out there by the British military between the two world wars.

She said: “There are hundreds of these things up there. My husband finds all sorts of interesting things and often brings me back presents from up there, although not often like this.

“From now on, I have told him just to buy me flowers from the Co-op.”

Mrs Scott said friends and neighbours are making light of the situation, asking her if she is still suffering from shellshock and wondering what her next bombshell will be.

She said: “It certainly livened up the town on a quiet Friday morning.”

A police spokeswoman advised other people finding shells not to take them home.

She said: “Safety is paramount and, without drawing on the knowledge of bomb disposal experts, it is impossible to establish whether a device poses a risk or not.

“It should be left untouched until they have been consulted.”