man jailed for two years on explosives charges
Burnham-On-Sea man was sentenced to two years jail on Friday (April
13th) for making explosives in a shed at his home in the town.
Phillip Leonard, 35, pleaded guilty to four counts of making
explosives when he appeared at Taunton Crown Court in February
and today he was sentenced to two years in prison for each offence.
These will be served concurrently.
It comes after police executed a warrant under the Explosives
Act on January 20th at a property in Beatty Way, Burnham. The
Explosives Ordnance Disposal team attended the address and removed
some items for safe disposal.
Mr Leonard was arrested at the property and enquiries were quickly
able to rule out any link to terrorism or domestic extremism.
With public safety the key priority, a 100m cordon was set up
covering almost 100 homes, as Burnham-On-Sea.com reported here.
30 people were evacuated to a nearby rest centre and were only
able to return to their homes at 10pm when the cordon was removed.
Speaking after the court case today, Chief Superintendent Daimon
Tilley said: "This was a serious incident which caused significant
disruption to the local community. While there was no malicious
intent in Leonard's actions he must accept that he put the safety
of his own family, his neighbours and the responding public services
at risk and caused local residents to leave their homes for more
than twelve hours."
"Since this incident we have had to issue another warrant
under the Explosives Act in connection with a separate investigation
in Taunton. People need to realise that chemicals are dangerous
and are not simply something which can be played with out of boredom,
curiosity or even worse with the intent to cause harm to others.
Public safety will always be our main concern and we will put
in place an appropriate response. This inevitably causes disruption
to the community and ties up valuable police resources."
hope that the police response on this occasion shows we take incidents
such as these seriously and deters others from experimenting with
Judge Stephen O'Malley, at Taunton Crown Court, told Leonard
he needed to realise the gravity of his actions.
"What the investigators, police and others, found in January
when they raided your home was a potentially very dangerous situation
with four different explosive substances which singularly or combined
had the potential to cause serious injury to people and property.
My main purpose in sentencing you has to be to bring home to you
and others the gravity of what you did."
Patrick Mason, defending, said Leonard had been on anti-depressants
for 10 years and had been a "bit of a recluse".
He said Leonard had an interest in pyrotechnics for a long time
and being "a relatively intelligent man" he was able
to quickly produce explosives.
His defence insisted there was "nothing sinister in what
he was doing, and for him, "explosives were just a hobby,
COVERAGE OF THE BEATTY WAY INVESTIGATION:
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explosives interest', court hears
pleads guilty to explosives charges
praise goodwill of residents
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centre praised by residents
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of the police investigation in Beatty Way
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confirm incident 'was not terrorism related'
of the army bomb disposal team at the scene