The New Zealand blasting unit was called to a chips factory after a suspicious potato passing through the production line turned out to be a grenade.
Pomegranates often appear on potato fields in Europe, but are a very unusual find in New Zealand.
The weapons were shipped Tuesday to Mr Chips East Tamaki’s factory in Auckland after being dug up from a potato farm in Matamata in the Waikato region.
A rusty pomegranate could easily have been mistaken for a big dirty potato, but the throaty worker noticed it even before it became an unpleasant addition to a pack of hot chips.
The night shift officer Richard Teurukura said News site, he pulled the device out of the “potato reception area” where at 3.30am on Tuesday 100,000 potatoes were delivered. At first he thought it was a dirty stone, but on further inspection he was surprised to find that it was a grenade.
He stopped the conveyor belt and asked his colleague, who had “seen a lot of war films,” to confirm that it was as he suspected, and then the grenade was placed in a cordoned-off area at a safe distance from personnel.
Shortly after 4 a.m., an explosives disposal team arrived and found it inert.
The approximately 80-year-old grenade was a British-made Mills Bomb hand grenade, which was widely used in the First and Second World Wars, confirmed the defense forces.
Mr Chips operations manager Roland Spitals told Stuff it was the first weapon found on the chain in the factory’s 30-year history.
“I think it’s great [Teurukura] picked him up, take off your hat in front of him for staying calm, Spitals said. “The guys took the right security measures, but there was still tremendous interest.”
Spitals said he photocopied a photo of the grenade to place it around the factory so other workers knew what to look for. The facility itself is now under police custody, an investigation is underway, but Spitals said he will eventually want to return it to the factory’s trophy room.
“It made the night more interesting than we usually do,” he said.