Sawn-off shotgun pulled out of River Welland in Stamford by magnet fishers Gary and Jenny Mewes
A husband and wife who took up magnet fishing as a hobby have pulled a sawn-off shotgun out of the River Welland.
Gary and Jenny Mewes were using ropes with large magnets attached to trawl the riverbed for lost ‘treasure’ under the Albert Bridge near Water Street earlier this month.
And while their catch usually comprises rusty nails, old mobile phones and lost hand tools, on this occasion the couple came across something that took them completely by surprise.
Gary, 31, said: “My magnet caught hold of something and when I brought it to the surface I thought it was an axe in a black bag, but then before we could see it properly it fell back in.
“Jenny was pretty excited that it might be something interesting and was encouraging me to have another go, and that time I managed to get it up level with the side of the bridge. It was at that point we realised it wasn’t an axe, but a gun.”
Jenny added: “I remember saying, as we looked more closely, ‘it’s not just a gun - it’s a sawn-off shotgun’ and so we covered it over and phoned the police. It was very exciting.”
A police officer took away the gun in an evidence bag, leaving Gary, a kitchen porter at the Tobie Norris pub in Stamford, and Jenny, site manager at the town’s Bluecoat Primary School, to wonder what the story was behind the gun.
“I guess it was thrown in by someone hoping it wouldn’t be found,” said Gary.
A few days later and at the same location, Jenny’s magnet pulled up a bag of what she thought might be coins, but turned out to be shotgun shells. These too were left with the police.
Commenting on the hobby, which they took up after Gary saw others doing it on YouTube and persuaded his wife to have a go, Jenny said: “It’s very peaceful, being near the water, and fishing becomes addictive. When the time comes to pack up and go home, I find I want ‘one last go’ several times over!”
The couple, who live in Elizabeth Road, have encouraged other family members to take up the hobby, and they are now investing in magnets the size of dinner plates, capable of extracting larger items and those buried lower in the riverbed silt.
People who magnet fish have found old safes, motorbikes, road signs and even parking meters. “A safe would be my dream thing to find,” said Gary. “We’ve ticked off the gun now!”
In France, magnet fishing is illegal because of the danger enthusiasts may pull out unexploded bombs.
Stamford Police are investigating the shotgun. Anyone with information should phone 101 quoting incident 165 of July 9.
On Wednesday last week a police underwater search team was looking for a Taser weapon which was lost in the river at Stamford on or before June 25. It is still believed to be missing.