Over three thousand people had to be evacuated from their city centre homes in Rennes on Sunday (23 November), after a World War II British bomb was discovered.

Mayor Nathalie Appere told AFP News that the 250kg bomb, containing approximately 70 kilos of high explosives, was discovered around the city's town hall area during works on the new metro line.

Frédérique Camilleri told RFI: "We found a bomb one month ago in the centre of the capital of the Brittany region of Western France, but we couldn't defuse it right away and we took that time to inform the population about the evacuation procedure.

"It took two hours to defuse the bomb and it was quite difficult because it was old and it was not in really good shape."

Bomb disposal officers worked with extreme caution on the "delicate operation" to disarm the ancient bomb, reported France24.

As a safety measure, residents and employees based within 270 metres of the bomb were evacuated.

Ninety residents of an old age home were also evacuated as the bomb squad disarmed the bomb.

Rennes, the capital of Brittany in north-western France, faced heavy bombing from US and Britain's Royal Air Forces between 1843 and 1944, during World War II.

"It is quite common to find bombs from World War II in France but the difficulty today was that the bomb was in a very populated area. The last operation of this kind in Rennes was in 2010 and we had to evacuate 10,000 people so we are quite used to it but it's still a very big event each time," said Camilleri.