Private munitions collection damaged in Walton-on-the-Naze barn blaze

The barn contained bullets, shells and landmines

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A private munitions collection has been damaged in a blaze which gutted a 19th Century listed farm building.

The barn in Old Hall Lane, Walton-on-the-Naze stored inert rockets, shells, landmines, fuel and cylinders.

Bomb disposal experts were called and a 300m exclusion zone was set up as 50 residents were evacuated from homes.

Anthony Debski, owner of the collection, said he has collected items spanning 70 years from around the world.

Anthony Debski Anthony Debski said items in his collection spanned 70 years

The packaging has been destroyed but Mr Debski hopes to restore the metal shells.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of the four-hour blaze.

Incident commander Paul Nash, from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said the building was "completely alight" and had 30 cylinders inside.

"We later discovered that there was a collection of munitions including rockets, shells and landmines stored in there as well," he said.

Essex Police said inquiries had established the ammunition was "inert" and the paperwork was "in order".

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