Some 22,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the central German city of Hanover on Sunday as experts disposed of three World War II bombs, police said.

The three bombs were dropped in an Allied bombing raid in October 1943, and were located with the help of aerial photos.

Two of them were buried under open land, while the third was close to a house.

Fire service spokesman Alfred Falkenberg said one of the bombs turned out to be harmless, as it had smashed on impact. The other two were defused successfully.

City officials informed residents earlier this month that they would defuse the bombs, and some 400 police officers were deployed to ensure that residents heeded the call to evacuate to two local schools.

Unexploded bombs from Allied bombardments are still found regularly in Germany.