News International volunteers uncover a gun and two knives while clearing Bromley-by-Bow churchyard

Volunteers from Rupert Murdoch’s News International company, based in Wapping, found more than they bargained for when they uncovered a gun and two knives while clearing a Bromley-by-Bow churchyard yesterday.

Thirty-five volunteers were working to tidy up and plant trees at St Leonard’s churchyard, on the corner of Bromley High Street and St Leonard’s Street, with charity Trees for Cities.

Mark Evans, 28, of Battersea, was picking up leaves when he was shocked to uncover a Smith & Wesson-style revolver in a bush.

He said: “I thought it was a toy gun at first. “As soon as I picked it up though I realised it wasn’t - I could tell by the weight.

“Everyone was shocked and someone believed that it was loaded.”

Jay McCaddon, 23, a PA at the company, then found a small serrated kitchen knife by a back fence.

She said: “To be honest once Mark had his find, we were all looking a bit harder.

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“But I still didn’t expect to find anything like that.”

A third larger kitchen knife was found at the end of their volunteering day and police visited the churchyard at 4pm.

Trees for Cities, News International, Poplar HARCA and the Diocese of London, who own the site which also contains the remains of an ancient church, plan to create a wildlife habitat, a food-growing site and play areas in the space.

The site was once home to a large Benedictine nunnery, founded in the time of William the Conqueror and one of its nuns, the prioress, became the inspiration for one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”

Tower Hamlets police were not available for comment this morning.

There are further volunteering opportunities with Trees for Life.