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'Curious' collector of bomb-building parts who blew up fruit on film admits explosives stash

Credit: GAZETTE MEDIA COMPANY SYNDICATION

A "curious" collector of parts for building bombs who blew up fruit on film, has admitted owning an arsenal of more than 100 knives.

Simon Flint, from Eaglescliffe, County Durham, was arrested after being stopped by police in his campervan which led to a 30-hour road closure.

A major police and army bomb disposal operation was later carried out at Dockside Road near the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

Flint appeared at Teesside Crown Court where he admitted getting and modifying parts to build IEDs, but denied intending to harm anyone or damage property.

The 42-year-old pleaded guilty to two charges of having an explosive substance on June 28th and 30th 2019.

He had items including eight improvised explosive crossbow bolts, seven rocket motors, a railway fog signal, low explosive powders, shotgun propellant, pipe, batteries, a transmitter, a receiver, modified electrical components, a modified torch, quantities of gelatine, glycerine, charcoal and boric acid, and a pestle and mortar.

Credit: GAZETTE MEDIA COMPANY SYNDICATION

Flint also admitted affray, using or threatening unlawful violence, on June 28, to which he apologised to a named man for the distress caused.

He then admitted, "the use of a crossbow in the manner described in a public place was very unwise".

Flint had previously pleaded guilty to four other charges, also from late June.

These were: having a bladed article - 85 knives, 29 lock knives, three swords, two crossbow bolts with razor blades inserted, a knife disguised as a credit card and an axe on the A689 near Coundon; having an offensive weapon - three batons, two knuckle dusters, a baseball bat torch and a truncheon - at the same location; two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon, relating to pepper spray.

His account was read out in court as the basis of his plea to the charges under the Explosive Substances Act 1883, it said:

The defendant accepts that he had engaged in the acquisition and modification of component parts for the construction of improvised explosive devices.

The defendant had no intent to cause any damage to property or harm to person.

He accepts however that such activity, which stemmed from interest and curiosity, cannot amount to a lawful object under the Act.

The use which the devices were contemplated is demonstrated in a series of videos in which the defendant exploded pieces of fruit and damaged a laptop computer through IED devices.

Again it was not to be used with intent to harm anyone and was a project which had not been advanced by the defendant for some five years.

– Defendant's account
Credit: GAZETTE MEDIA COMPANY SYNDICATION

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks said there was a "degree of compulsion" in Flint's acquisition of the weapons.

Mark Styles, defending, said he did not ask for a pre-sentence report in the case.

Judge Howard Crowson remanded Flint, whose address was recorded in court as prison, in custody until sentencing via video link next Monday.

He told the defendant:

You have admitted your offences and the next stage is sentence. But we will want to get that right of course and it can be a bit complicated, this piece of law.

So the lawyers are going to make sure they help me as much as they can to get things right.

– Judge Howard Crowson

Flint is due to be sentenced on Monday 16 December 2019.