COMMUNITY clean-up volunteers were shocked to discover a haul of military rifle ammunition as they removed rubbish from a pond.
The 50 rounds of what is believed to be 5.56mm ammunition were contained in a bandolier and in good condition.
The high-velocity bullets, used in the army’s SA80 assault rifles, were found just two miles away from a Royal Marine base and 11 miles from a military firing range.
The disturbing discovery, in Keptie Pond, Arbroath, Angus on Sunday, is being investigated by Police Scotland.
Community group Keptie Friends found the bullets and posted images to their Facebook page. The bullets appear to be attached to metal clips at the base, possibly for the rapid loading of magazines.
Despite being hauled from the water they appear to show no sign of corrosion or other damage, indicating they may not have been there for long.
Chairwoman of the group, Morag Lindsay, told her local newspaper: “We usually get together once a month and do litter picking, clearing dog mess, weeding and some grass trimming.
“Our newest member had come equipped with waders, and was in the water cleaning up when he shouted he that he had found ammunition.
“There were up to 50 bullets in clips, all within ammo pouches, that I believe are called a bandolier.
“They didn’t look as though they had been in there long as they were in good condition, despite being under water.
“We decided the best thing to do was to call the police, and they are now investigating.”
Police have refused to confirm that the ammunition is military-issue but 45 Commando Group is based at RM Condor just two miles away.
The Barry Buddon Training Camp, Carnoustie, has extensive firing ranges and is about 11 miles away.
An employee for Angus Country Sports in Arbroath, which stocks ammunition and rifles, said he thought the bullets were military after looking at the pictures.
He said: ““They wouldn’t have been from here. Ours are collectors’ items. Whoever has put them there has got them from somewhere else.”
Arbroath West and Letham independent councillor David Fairweather told his local paper he was “alarmed at the news”.
He said: “Given the nature and scale of the find, and bearing in mind the bullets do not appear to have been there long, I think a further search of the pond should be considered in order to ensure everything has been recovered.”
Cllr Fairweather congratulated Keptie Friends on their “excellent work” citing that if the bullets had been discovered by the wrong hands “who knows what could have happened.”
Fired from a rifle, the 5.56mm rounds have a muzzle velocity of around 3,000ft per second and can penetrate up to 20 inches of soft tissue.
A police spokesman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that inquiries are being carried out after ammunition was found within Keptie Pond in Arbroath on Sunday.
“If anyone has any information as to how the ammunition came to be there, please contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting 1796 of 30 September.”