Replica Monty Python hand grenade causes bomb scare in London

Water company engineers spotted the object when they lifted up a fire hydrant cover during work on a street in Shoreditch, east London.

The road was cordoned off and a nearby pub was evacuated amid fears that the "grenade" could explode.

But after nearly an hour of analysis bomb experts realised that the cause of the scare was in fact a copy of the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" used by Eric Idle to slaughter a killer rabbit in the 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

The fictional weapon looks more like a golden ornament than a hand grenade; it was based on the Sovereign's Orb used at royal coronations.

The prop has become a popular in-joke among Python fans and replicas can be bought on eBay for as little as £14.

An spokeswoman for Islington police confirmed that the device was a toy and that had been no danger to the public

Local businesses criticised the police for taking so long to realise there was no threat.

Alberto Romanelli, owner of the Windmill put that was evacuated, said: "I lost a good hour's worth of business."

"And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

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