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MP hits out at Post Office delay

The MP for Bexhill and Battle Huw Merriman asked the government why the people of Heathfield have to wait so long for their post office to reopen.


Explosives hoarder escapes jail

A man obsessed with fireworks who hoarded enough explosives to blow up his own house as well as his neighbours' has avoided jail.

Benjamin Harris, 30, from East Sussex, admitted producing the dangerous substances but insisted it was only to feed his fascination for pyrotechnics.

He was handed a suspended jail sentence and an anti-social behaviour order banning him from possessing fireworks for five years and trawling the internet for explosives.

The court heard how police uncovered Harris' stash when they raided his home in Highcroft Crescent in Heathfield on March 13th 2013. They seized a quantity of black powders, pyrotechnic fuses, chemicals to make improvised fireworks, a small number of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and commercial fireworks.

In the opinion of a bomb disposal expert, Harris had shown a "reckless disregard for his own safety and his neighbours" and could have caused a "significant explosion that could have caused severe structural damage as well as injury", prosecutor William Hays said.

Harris had stored in his home enough material to make hundreds of improvised explosives, he said. He added: "It is perhaps plainly obvious that attempting to mix explosives in a coffee grinder is extremely dangerous and reckless."

The fireworks taken from his home appeared to have come from Poland and the instructions were not even in English, the court heard.

At a previous hearing, Harris had pleaded guilty to two counts of having an explosive substance and one count of making an explosive substance. He also admitted breaching health and safety and producing cannabis.

Handing him two years suspended for two years for the explosives charges, Judge Christopher Moss QC said: "To sentence you to immediate imprisonment bearing in mind your psychological background would be so detrimental to your situation as to make it unthinkable."

Harris was also give a three month jail sentence suspended for 12 months for the cannabis charge. He denied having five documents useful for terrorism at the time of his arrest and those charges were left on file.

Man jailed for production of cannabis

Thang Cao Do has been sentenced to 27 months in prison Credit: Sussex Police

A man has been jailed for more than two years after around 2,000 plants were found in Heathfield in January this year.

Police discovered a large cannabis farm at a unit on an industrial estate in Heathfield on Friday 23 January, after being alerted by bailiffs who had visited a unit on the Ghyll Industrial Estate. The cannabis plants would have had a street value of £953,714.

Thang Cao Do, 42, of no fixed address, was charged with being concerned in the production of a class B drug. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 27 months in prison after he appeared at Brighton Crown Court on Thursday.

"We have disrupted an organised and significant operation, preventing harmful drugs from reaching the local community. I would ask all members of the public to be vigilant, as both commercial and private properties can be used for the production of cannabis. Signs to look out for are covered over windows or curtains constantly closed, people visiting properties at odd times, for example to water plants, extractor fans in walls and a sweet, distinctive herbal smell. If you witness any such suspicious activity please email information or call 101."

– Detective Constable Tod Stewart

Feed yourself for £1 a day

You'd be lucky to buy a coffee for less than a couple of pounds these days, but a woman from Heathfield in East Sussex has created a blog to help families feed themselves for just one pound a day.

Since Lesley Cooper started her blog which includes recipes and shopping lists, the site has been over loaded - people have flocked to it in their millions. Charlotte Wilkins reports. Find out more about Lesley's recipes here.