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   Inside Out - South: Monday January 30, 2006

Superstar DJ

James Zabiela
Superstar DJ James Zabiela

Superstar DJs are big news in the world of dance music.

Inside Out follows one of the newest and youngest DJ superstars - Southampton based James Zabiela as he mixes up a storm on his decks.

James has gigged in practically every cool club in every cool city on the planet.

For those in the know his special mix of underground dance music consists of House, Break Beats and Techno.

And when he isn't on stage James is editing music on his computer or hunting down new tracks for his next session.

Top DJs like James can earn anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds per gig.

His non stop travel schedule means he's built up a following of international fans.

James was given a Friday night slot at a local club in 1998 when he was just 18.

But he doesn't fit the mould of the big shot DJ - in truth, he's a bit of a techy nerd.

Inside Out follows James in front of the decks and at home working on some new mixes for his live DJ set.

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Bomb danger?

Potentially deadly? Old UXBs may pose a threat

Inside Out investigates how dangerous live military shells and bombs are going missing before the Army or Police can make them safe.

Renegade military dealers and collectors are stealing 'live' chemical shells and bombs from the battlefields of Belgium and France.

They are then smuggling these potentially deadly munitions back through the Channel Tunnel or on the ferries into the UK for sale on the military black-market or on the web.

Trench warfare

Our story starts 90 years ago. The Great War claimed over 15 million lives and focused on a narrow strip of land in Belgium and France.

This intense trench warfare led to constant shelling by both sides, but not every bomb fired exploded. Hundreds of thousands failed to detonate.

Today the remains of the Belgian front line can still be seen - some trenches are still visible, and visitors can walk past the barbed wire and inspect the rusting military hardware left behind.

And it is those shells that are now resurfacing and presenting a new threat.

Ammunition sales


* Every year more than 30 people are killed on the battlefields of Europe after disturbing or picking up unexploded bombs and shells.

* It's estimated that three Titanics worth of unexploded bombs still litter the fields of France and Belgium, left over from World War 1.

* Some of these shells contain deadly Mustard Gas and Phosgene. Chemical shells left over from World War 1 that are still as deadly as the day they were fired.

* The Belgian Bomb Disposal Team brings back two lorry loads of unexploded bombs every day for safe destruction.

* Inside the high security chemical warfare lab, bomb teams work four hour shifts inside special chemical suits as they take the gas shells apart and destroy the chemicals.

Inside Out's investigation was kick-started last autumn by a set of brothers.

Chris and Matt Haffenden are military collectors from Hailsham in Sussex and they told us they’d seen live First World War ammunition on sale in the South East of England.

One man who did smuggle in a live military bomb was Stephen Hart from Tunbridge Wells.

Last summer he was handed a nine month suspended prison sentence and a hefty fine after being caught with a unexploded mortar shell in the boot of his car at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

This case made Inside Out wonder just what could a military enthusiast get hold of abroad so we headed off to the battlefields of Belgium to have a dig around.

Bombs and shells

A large amount of ammunition has been unearthed in the fields around the town of Ypres - and that is exactly where we headed.

We wanted to find out where you could get live bombs and shells, and we also met with someone who had first hand knowledge that ammunition was being stolen off the battlefields.

Domenik Dendooven is a curator at the museum and was worried live bombs and shells were disappearing before the army could make them safe.

Some of the live shells going missing are toxic and contain chemicals that could kill.

Trenches Photo: Associated Press
Trench warfare - bombs are still being uncovered

It appears that toxic shells containing mustard gas and and phosgene were being stolen and were finding their way illegally back into the UK.

So many live bombs are unearthed by farmers, there are designated spots where they are left for collection by the military.

They may be 90-years-old and look harmless but the chemical agents can be as deadly as the day they were first made. Destroying them has to take place inside a high security lab.

The scale of the problem is frightening and with toxic agents like phosgene and mustard gas, it is dangerous work.

There are fears that bombs may explode unexpectedly

Photographs courtesy of Associated Press.

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Crime writer

Peter James
Paperback writer - Peter James hopes to create the next Morse

He's been called Britain's answer to Stephen King and Michael Crichton.

Peter James is an established crime writer but he's launching a new series of novels.

They are all set in Brighton and Peter hopes that his central character will give Inspector Morse a run for his money.

Roy Grace is the book's main character, inspired by real life policeman Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Gaylor.

Inside Out follows Peter on a promotional tour with some German book critics, a country that reads more crime novels than anyone else.

Selling crime

One of Peter's biggest tasks is to sell the book's hero as well as the South of England locations.

The Germans have a great nose for a good plot line, and if Peter gets good reviews, it will help him to rival Inspector Morse.

He takes the critics on a tour of locations featured in the book, but the highlight of Peter's sales pitch isn't for the squeamish.

Peter James and critics at mortuary
Dead simple - a trip to the mortuary

To get those rave reviews the author uses some shock tactics, taking the entourage to a police station and a mortuary.

But some members of the party are finding it quite chilling. Reading about death is one thing seeing it is another.

As the sunsets over Brighton's South Downs the real schmoozing kicks in as the publishers push the boat out with a four course meal for the German critics.

Perhaps after all the best way to a German book critic's heart is through his or her stomach?

Months on, the strategy has worked and Peter's book is a best seller in Germany.

His next big challenge is to break the new book in the international market and even get interest in a TV or film adaptation of his latest work.

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