Brighton City Airport was forced to interrupt operations on Wednesday after workmen on site recovered what appeared to be a bomb dating back to the Second World War.

According to Sussex Police, contractors found the device about 700m away from the runway and within 100m of the perimeter road, leading to the closure of the airport and the suspension of all flights.

Fire crews, disposal experts and the police arrived at the scene, where they identified the 1ft-long device as an ‘inter practice round’, a non-explosive dummy device, which was removed later in the day. The airport reopened on Wednesday afternoon.

A spokesman for the airport said workmen recovered the bomb while carrying out excavations for flood defences and that a 500m exclusion zone was set up in the aftermath. He added: “The airport immediately ceased all flights and the emergency services were called.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Brighton City Airport at Cecil Pashley Way, Shoreham, has been closed after workmen dug up what appears to be a Second World War bomb, approximately a foot long.

“The discovery was reported around 9am on Wednesday and a 50m cordon – since extended to 100m – was set up around the object. Although some 700m away from the runway, the suspected bomb is within 100m of the airport perimeter road and so the airport has been shut and flights suspended as a precaution.

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“Police and firefighters are in attendance and a military Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from Aldershot is en route to identify and deal with the object.”

Bomb disposal experts told the BBC there was no need for a controlled explosion and that this was the second alert over wartime explosive coming up in Sussex within days. Last Sunday, a sea mine was discovered and detonated near Bognor beach.