'I wasn't going to touch it in case it exploded'
UPDATE, 2.20pm: JOHN Clemmett walks the beach most days, but he'd never come across a military object at Byron Bay before.
He was walking along the beach around 7am when he spotted the device on Belongil Beach.
"It was about 700 (mm) long and 200 in diameter, about the size of a fence post," he said.
"It had been washing around in the ocean for a while and had barnacles on it.
"It seemed pretty heavy.
"I thought it was a flare at first - I've seen those on the beach before at Evans Head - but I wasn't really sure.
"I rolled it over, but then I saw the warning signs on it.
"That's when we decided to report it."
Mr Clemmett said he was concerned that a lot of people had been sticky-beaking and moving it before police arrived to set up the exclusion zone.
"I wasn't going to touch it - you don't know the force of it if it did happen to explode, and you really don't want to find out," he said.
"The seas are pretty heavy at the moment, that's obviously what's brought it ashore."
Original story: POLICE have set up an exclusion zone at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay, after the discovery of a military device.
Byron Bay Acting Inspector Christopher Neaves said reports circulating on social media that it was an old bomb were incorrect.
"We believe it's a military marker," he said.
"It was reported by a member of the public.
"We're now liaising with the military to have it safely removed, and we're making those arrangements now.
"There is an exclusion zone and police are on scene."
Acting Insp Neaves said people should stay away from the area.
A spokeswoman from NSW Police Media confirmed the object was found just before 10am.
"The object is not deemed to be suspicious," she said.
Posting on Byron Bay Community Board, John Clemmett said he was the one who reported the device.
"We found it and reported it at the police station," he wrote.
"If we had realised how dangerous it possibly could be, I would have phoned 000 immediately, so just keep clear of that area please."