Latest: Residents evacuated after unexploded WWII bomb found near London City Airport told they can return home

Update 10.43pm: Residents who were evacuated following the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb near London City Airport can return to their homes, UK police said.

People living within the 214-metre exclusion zone in the London Borough of Newham were asked to voluntarily leave their property today while bomb disposal teams handled the 500kg ordnance.

Metropolitan Police said the 1.5 metre-long tapered-end shell, which was found 15 metres underwater in King George V Dock in east London on Sunday, has been moved.

It has been taken to a secondary position within the dock, the force said.

Royal Navy divers will work with police through the night to move the German general-purpose bomb down the River Thames and carry out a controlled explosion tomorrow morning.

The process will disrupt some late-night train services from St Pancras station.

The operation caused travel disruption at London City Airport, which closed today with more than 100 flights cancelled.

It is expected to reopen tomorrow, said CEO Robert Sinclair.

Earlier: Operation to neutralise unexploded WWII bomb near London City Airport to continue overnight

British police and Royal Navy teams will work through the night to transport the "powerful" 500kg Second World War bomb which has disrupted dozens of flights at London City Airport.

Bomb disposal experts will guide the 1.5m-long unexploded ordnance down the River Thames overnight using a flotation device, before attaching "high-grade military explosives" in a controlled explosion on Tuesday morning.

The German general purpose bomb was found grounded in the seabed 15 metres underwater at King George V Dock in east London on Sunday.

A 214-metre exclusion zone is in place and the airport will remain closed for the rest of the day, said Robert Sinclair, chief executive of London City Airport.

He said in a statement: "Any passengers due to fly today are urged not to come to the airport and to contact their airline for further information.

"I recognise this has caused inconvenience for our passengers, and in particular some of our local residents. The airport is co-operating fully with the Met Police, Royal Navy and London Borough of Newham to safely remove the device and resolve the situation as quickly as possible."

The airport is expected to reopen tomorrow, he added.

Lieutenant Commander Jonny Campbell, officer in charge of the diving unit which is disposing of the ordnance, said the bomb is being transported overnight to minimise disruption.

It will be exploded underwater and is unlikely to detonate before it is neutralised by his team.

He told the Press Association: "There's a long night ahead for quite a few people, not least my Royal Navy bomb disposal divers, using our tried-and-tested techniques to remove the threat."

He added: "We assess that we've got good control, that the bomb is in relatively good condition and so it's now that balance of yes, we want to take it away and remove it, but we want to make sure it's done properly."

A local couple who only gave their names as the Kullers said they were woken up at 2am by officers "banging on our door" asking them to evacuate.

The corner shop owners told the Press Association: "They're just doing their job, aren't they, they've got to think about our safety and decide what they're going to do. We've just got to carry on as best as we can."

All evacuations were optional, police said.

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