A BOMB disposal unit was scrambled to Largs after an unexploded World War Two bomb was found in the hills behind the town by forestry staff.

Police and Royal Navy were called into action to deal with the emergency on Thursday morning.

It resulted in a controlled explosion so powerful it caused the ground to shake half a mile away.

Largs residents Ross McCallum and Iain Currie were walking in the hills and witnessed the drama unfold.

They told the News that a number of vehicles sped to the scene before work went on to detonate the device.

Ross, 74, of Noddleburn Lea, said: "The whole area shook as it happened. The detonation took place a fair distance up the hillside.

"Personnel from the forestry team had spotted it and alerted the authorities.

"It was mentioned that they believed the device to be over 70-years-old.

"Apparently it was quite common place for planes returning from missions to drop bombs in the hills. They would dispose of them before attempting to land.

"It may have been from a German plane on a raid over Clydebank or Greenock trying to lighten its load and make it back to the North Sea."

Friend Iain Currie, 74, of Glenburn Crescent said: "We were walking up the road from Blair Park - the forestry road - and suddenly a police car and a big white van came hammering past. We soon realised it was the Royal Navy bomb disposal unit.

"We met up with some of the forestry staff who were planting trees and they told us that one of the big JCB diggers discovered what they thought was a bomb. Shortly afterwards there was a big thud and a blast from around half a mile away.

"The ground shook. It was all quite dramatic."

The MOD confirmed to the News that the Royal Navy bomb disposal unit had been called out to deal with the device.

Residents told the News that the Royal Navy disposal unit remained to sweep the area over concerns that there might have been a second bomb in the hills.

Police sergeant Sharon Kerr said: "Near to Halkshill and Blair Park, whilst work was being undertaken, a large metal cylindrical object was discovered.

"As a result of this explosive ordnance disposal attended and carried out a controlled explosion. Officers attended to assist."

Photo: Ross McCallum