A council cleaner kicked a live Second World War hand grenade he found on a beach then picked it up and put it in his loader before continuing his litter pick.
It was only after he had another look at the metal object that John O'Neill realised the lump of metal was a potentially-deadly grenade that had been buried in the sand at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool.
He believed the pin was still inside, but because it was so rusty, it was hard to tell.
Mr O'Neill, who works for Hartlepool Borough Council, told the Hartlepool Mail: "I was doing a general litter pick and I came across what I thought was a piece of metal and I gave it a kick. I turned it over and it looked interesting."
He contacted his bosses who called in bomb disposal experts and after the beach was cordoned off, they carried out a controlled explosion.