A Heathfield man has received suspended prison sentences after pleading guilty to explosives offences.
Benjamin Harris, of Highcroft Crescent, Heathfield, appeared on bail for sentencing at the Central Criminal Court on Friday (June 5) having previously pleaded guilty to five offences;
1. possession of low explosive black powder, contrary to the Explosive Substances Act 1883
2. possession of oxidising agents, contrary to the Explosive Substances Act;
3. making low explosive black powder, contrary to the Explosive Substances Act;
4. contravening the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to the storage of explosive material;
5. production of cannabis, contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
For each of the first three offences the 30-year-old carpenter received a two year sentence suspended for two years, and a 12-month supervision order, all to run concurrently.
For the storage offence he received no separate penalty, and for the cannabis production offence he received a three month sentence suspended for 12 months, to run concurrently with the first three sentences.
He was also given a five-year Anti-Social Behaviour Order and a Destruction Order was made for all the material seized.
He had pleaded not guilty to five counts of collecting or making a record of information that was of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism by possessing a USB drive containing electronic copies of ten documents on the production of explosives, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000. These charges were allowed to remain on the court file and are not being proceeded with.
Sussex Police officers executed a search warrant at Harris’s address on March 13, 2013. They seized a quantity of black powders, pyrotechnic fuses, chemicals to make improvised fireworks as well as a small number of IED’s, commercial fireworks and a USB stick containing electronic manuals, text books, academic and other documents relating to explosives. They also seized a small quantity of cannabis plants in various stages of production.
A Sussex Police spokesman said, “This was not part of any wider investigation and there was no threat to the local community.”
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