Junior cricket boys who went to play a match at Kamo hoped to hit some big shots but they didn't have an arsenal of machine gun ammo and a few small bombs in mind.

When they went to retrieve a ball during the game on Sunday afternoon, young players stumbled across three practise mortar bombs and an empty machine gun bullet belt. The items were tucked under bushes near a creek, down a bank on the park boundary.

They have been given to the NZ Defence Force to dispose of safely, Northland Police Inspector Al Symonds said.

None of the items have been reported missing or stolen, and the possession of used machine gun bullet chains is not illegal, Mr Symonds said. The children did the right thing by telling their parents, who played it safe and notified the police, he said.


Northern Advocate editor Craig Cooper, who was a spectator at the game, reported the find after showing the items to cricket coach Rocket Turner.

"We didn't know what the mortars were at the time, but it was a slightly sinister find so we figured we should let police know," Mr Cooper said.

"It was obvious the bullets on the machine gun belt had been fired, but we weren't sure about the mortars.

"It's not the sort of thing you usually find hidden in bushes at Kamo rec, I don't think."

After finding them, the players brought the ammunition belt and mortar devices back to the cricket game, but not before having tossed a couple of mortars around.

"So we were quite grateful they weren't live," Mr Cooper said.

Inspector Symonds said that the safest thing to do when people find such items is to leave them alone and call the police. "Safety first is the best policy and if you don't know what it is, don't touch it.

"Possession of empty bullets like the ones linked into the machine gun chain is not illegal, however people should use their judgement as to when they are displayed to avoid alarming the public," he said.

If anyone has found something similar in the Kamo area they are asked to contact police.